MADE up we won.
Absolutely made up. Stupidly made up. Giddily made up.
Because it means I can spend all of this article slaughtering Lee Mason without anyone saying it is because of the result.
I hate talking about referees. Hate it. It’s the thing you do when you don’t win and it is just whining. Normally you get what you deserve from football matches. Perhaps we didn’t here, perhaps we got more than we deserved. And on top of that we got a red card in our favour. So we won the football match, we got a big decision in our favour. There we go. Liverpool didn’t deserve to win. They won. There you go. There’s that bit. I hate talking about referees. It is rubbish.
Lee Mason is the worst referee I have ever seen.
There’s this line of Carlo Ancelotti I quote a lot which is something like football is the most important of all the unimportant things. Lee Mason is the worst thing of all the unimportant things. Here is a list of terrible things Lee Mason is worse than:
- Lee Mason is worse than your shoelaces getting wet and having to tie them.
- Lee Mason is worse than people telling you Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” isn’t actually ironic.
- Lee Mason is worse than part-time butchers and full time STD inoculators Fletch And Sav.
- Lee Mason is worse than John Hannah’s character in Sliding Doors.
- Lee Mason is worse than standing on an upturned plug.
- Lee Mason is worse than people walking along the street playing on their phone not looking where they are going.
- Lee Mason is worse than Paloma Faith.
- Lee Mason is worse than someone who puts dickhead words down in Scrabble they could never use in a sentence.
- Lee Mason is worse than Pitchfork’s album ratings.
- Lee Mason is worse than the way I look in a hat.
- Lee Mason is worse than Aaron Sorkin’s politics.
- Lee Mason is worse than trains on a Sunday.
- Lee Mason is worse than Steve McManaman’s gloves.
- Lee Mason is worse than the bleep test after a big Saturday night.
- Lee Mason is worse than changing the bed linen.
- Lee Mason is worse than coats on dogs.
- Lee Mason is worse than Ian Darke.
Lee Mason isn’t biased. Lee Mason is just bad. Really, really, really bad at his job. He’s this bad at his job in front of crowds of thousands. In front of television audiences of millions. Can you think of anyone as bad at what they do on a scale as global as this? George Osborne aside obviously. I don’t think there has been a crop of English referees that has been as bad as this bunch. And yet Lee Mason stands out as clearly the worst of them. Lee, if you are reading this, I’m not being personal. You are probably a nice fella. This just clearly isn’t for you. There must be something else you can do. Just let it go, mate. I’m begging you. Let me make a few calls. I reckon you could get something pretty good in the council. Maybe the gas board. You’d be my guy.
As for the actual winning football:
Lambo holding it in the corner against bottom of the league with a man sent off with two to go and two goals clear. Picture that. Dwell on it. That’s Liverpool performance right there. That’s it. In that it isn’t even the wrong thing to do. It isn’t bad as such. It’s just all a bit icky. Winning and icky.
Few Liverpool players played well – Lucas was, again, probably the best performer. Lambert put another stint in, set one up and got their lad sent off. Skrtel dealt with things as they came his way though rarely conventionally. Everyone else did well in flashes here and there but there were few things you’d describe as performances. But all showed gumption. Against poor sides being good for seconds can allow you to be poor for minutes. Liverpool proved that tonight. Gerrard, Sterling and Henderson especially. Leicester were direct and powerful, never more so than when they only had ten men. Like Liverpool they showed tonnes of fight, significantly less quality.
The shape was never great. Liverpool were too deep, too ponderous, too unsure of themselves. The goalkeeper doesn’t offer enough confidence to anyone. Moreno wasn’t great when he came on, he looked the nerviest he has in a Liverpool shirt. As for the manager, it would perhaps have been nice to see a change offering another outlet when Liverpool were a goal ahead and against ten men. However, he would say this – a win is a win is a win. He’d be right, but it also needs to be said that Liverpool will need to be better and soon. Basel and Manchester United on the horizon. Both will need Liverpool to be better all round than they were tonight. But a win is a win. A win always helps.
Sunderland next. Remember Sunderland last season? It was ugly. Very ugly. And that was last season. Last season it was desperate at times, Suarez blammed it against one of theirs with five to go like it was 14/15. This Saturday will very much be one to grin and bear as Poyet’s lads will be hungry and will know their gaffer can put a plan together that can keep anyone out.
Could be worse. Could be Lee Mason. Remember that. It could always be Lee Mason.
Yes Lee Mason is bad, but he seems to be particularly bad at giving decisions to Liverpool over all his time as a referee. Don’t think he’d be quite as bad at giving decisions against Mourihno or Ferguson though.
Yeah, a good scruffy win, and Lee Mason is a ****. Raheem’s getting kicked from pillar to post this season, Brendan should speak up.
Glen Johnson was my MOTM, he won a lot of balls tonight. Lucas and Kolo both did well again. We look much more assured defensively and looked, for the first time in a long time, able to deal with with transitions tonight. Lambert and Lallana made another good case for starting together: two games, two goals.
Moreno’s a worry as are Brendan’s perplexing substitutions. Why not rest the skipper after Henderson’s goal?
GLEN JOHNSON MOTM?!?! I up have no idea how you’ve come to that conclusion especially considering the games Gerrard and Lucas had tonight. I’d also have Lallana, Kolo and Sterling above him too!
I have to agree with you, we where not great but Johnson was his usual awful wasteful, couldn’t be arsed self.
Gerrard and Lucas for me.
Gerrard had a strong 10 minute spell and got an easy shot in front of the goal. That’s it. He was a great player, now he holds the side, and therefore the club back.
Johnson won a lot of ball tonight. He defended very, very well. Lots of headers, lots of interceptions.
Gerrard MOTM? Think you’re wearing blnkers. Kolo or Lucas maybe.
I thought there’s been a definite improvement in Johnson and I agree he defended well tonight and was still trying to get forward when he could. Every match he plays is still sprinkled with one or two things he does which leave you scratching your head, but I guess that’s just Johnson.
Gerrard was MotM and almost every non-Liverpool fan – from the pundits to the journos to the couple of fans of other teams I’ve spoken to this morning – says the same. But I realize that can only be because of sentimental reasons and it can’t possibly be because he was in fact our best player :-)
Funny that. Nothing I’ve seen or read indicates that people think he was MOTM (yet).
One of the big problems with Gerrard, whichever side you’re on, is that he’s like a receptacle, he personifies our desires and disappointments. And I don’t think that’s healthy for the club. It’s almost impossible to discuss him, or review his performances neutrally: I undoubtedly look for faults in his game, you look for positives. The celebration last night, for example, was, to me, all about him, his vindication, his response to his critics, but look at the bigger picture: he was rested for one game. Isn’t that perfectly normal for a player at this stage of his career? Why does he have make such a big deal out of it?
You see, once again we’re discussing our 34 year old skipper rather than the team, and that’s a big problem for a supposedly ambitious club. My issue isn’t that he didn’t play well, he did, but what accommodating him does to our shape and style of play. With he and Lambert in the team we’re two pressers down. Ray Houghton spent the Stoke match bemoaning Gerrard’s absence and was then astonished that 4 players had to shift position to accommodate the skipper. Therein lies the problem. How do we move forward as a team if one player throws us out so much?
Gerrard has spent the last week reading about how he is finished, a crock, his legs have gone, and is finally ‘rested’ by his manager. He then scores in his next game and you criticize the celebration? Damn right he probably does feel that was one for the critics. Why should he be immune from wanting to make his critics eat their words in the same way that countless footballers have before him? He’s human, after all. Once you’ve got to a stage where you’re looking for the negatives in the manner in which Gerrard celebrates a goal, I think you need to seriously ask yourself whether you’ve lost all objectivity. Strikes me you’ve bought into the ‘Stevie Me’ meme so beloved of Manc and Chelsea fans everywhere.
We must be the only fucking sporting institution on the planet where a player can spend all his professional life (and most of his life before that) playing with such obvious passion for his shirt but can still have these sorts of things written about him *by his own fans*.
It is – literally – unbelievable.
Just for balance :-), I will agree that a normalization of the club’s relationship with Gerrard would be good thing, but I think you have to be realistic about these things and understand that, at least until the contract situation is resolved, that’s unlikely to happen.
Also, how about looking to other players to alter the dynamic a bit? Towards the end of last season there was a lot of talk about the fact that Gerrard might win his first title, etc., but for most of the season Gerrard wasn’t the focus of Liverpool-centric discussion. It was Suarez, and Suarez and Sturridge, and occasionally Sterling, the SaS or the SSS. One way for the club to get to a point where Gerrard becomes (as much as it is possible) just a/n/other part of the discussion, is for other players to start doing stuff that merits a greater slice of press and fan attention. There’s a thought, eh?
Why on earth would he read the press?
You’ve really got to be a dumb footballer to do that.
As for the supporters: he receives nothing but adulation from those able to attend the games, which is as it should be.
Totally agree about other players stepping up. Think it’s be easier to do without Gerrard in the team myself, but accept the argument.
A player of Gerrard’s experience should be able to take a bit of criticism. He gets an awful lot of support: the fans, the press, his mates in commentary boxes up and down the country…..To argue otherwise is bordering on the absurd. The cult of Gerrard retains its force.
He doesn’t play for free Brownie. He’s living the dream, captain of his boyhood club, playing in front of supporters who, on the whole, adore him and sing songs in his praise week in, week out. What more could a man want (apart from medals)?
Brendan’s autograph album or whatever it us that he flashed at FSG didn’t include a chapter on ‘Rotations’. (Or ‘Tactics’, but I’ve exhausted that one).
I was going from punching to air to giving that C*nt a bollocking (in silence as kids/wife were asleep upstairs),
It’s open season on Sterling most weeks but Masons performance tonight was actually hard to believe at times,
Lucas takes huge credit with has last few performances,
The lack of options up front is the big worry esp coming into the hectic period.
Thought we were remarkably bad again and that Gerrard contributed incredibly little again, especially first half. But I have a feeling most will see “3-1 win” and “Gerrard scores” as evidence enough to suggest we and he are close to something resembling form. It couldn’t be further from the truth.
The 20 minutes after they went down to 10 men was our worst 20 minutes of the season in my opinion, which says a lot given we’ve already lost 9 and had lucky last minute wins against Swansea and QPR. We were fucking abysmal, none worse than Skrtel and Mignolet. Lambert constantly getting caught offside for no good reason (hardly running on to through balls is he?) backs up my belief he’s quite thick.
We were playing the worst team in the league. Remember that. Rodgers saying tonight was a “massive victory” and calling our performance “magnificent” doesn’t help matters one iota.
We’ve won again but I’m tired of hearing “it’s not about the performance, it’s about the result” When will it ever be about the performance? Not xmas time. Not in the run in. Not in the first weeks of the season. So when?
And yes, Lee Mason was an absolute cunt. Should never referee another one of our games.
Chris, excuse me, but your post is seriously depressing. I’d love to see you put your boots on and get the hell out there and play in perfect form. A win IS a win IS a win. 3 points is 3 bloody points. It wasn’t 1-0; it was 3-1. It was a freaking WIN. Get over it.
It’s depressing because it’s the truth. Unless you think we played well last night. Unless you felt Lambert was justified in being offside so often, giving us no outlet. Unless you think Mignolet was fine and his kicking exquisite. Unless you think Skrtel didn’t play like a clown. It was a 3-1 win, yes. But it was against the worst team in the league. Who were down to 10 men for a third of the game. And they were better than us for the majority of that time.
“A win is a win is a win”
See. Proving my point. Will someone answer the fucking question – when will it be about the performance? Because we’re told in the first few weeks in August its not about how we play it’s about getting 3 points. Because we’re told at Xmas time that the games come thick and fast so it’s about grinding out 3 points. Because we’re told in the first weeks of May the players are tired and it’s about winning to get the best possible finishing position. So when is it ever going to be about the performance? I’d suggest now would be a good time.
We were Chris, but you seem to want your cake and eat it. You called for Brendan to ditch his philosophy to curtail another Reading-style meltdown; that’s exactly what he’s done. Right now we’ve just got to grind out results until the confidence comes back.
We’re very poor right now, you can see the confidence of the attacking players has been shot to pieces; we can’t pass ourselves out of tight situations anymore because our forward players offer so little movement (which is why I wouldn’t play Gerrard despite him playing reasonably well last night). Rickie’s doing what Rickie does, and he does it well. We knew his qualities and limitations when we bought him.
None of this excuses Brendan’s poor season. Playing Lallana and Lambert together is a no-brainer, Mario didn’t work, Lucas and Kolo should have started every game post Bernabeu, issues around the skipper remain unresolved and the transfers don’t’ look great as we speak. But he is making progress and we should support he and the team through this difficult period as long as he keeps on making the tough calls.
Paul, he has changed it a bit. He’s removed Gerrard from DM. We’ve conceded 2 goals in 3 games since that’s happened. But that was so painfully obvious the decision to make and he stuck to it for about 6 weeks too long that any praise should be minimal. He’s dropped Lovren. Ditto.
Forget what I’ve said, what you’ve said, what Rodgers has said…..forget even that he spent £120m only a matter of months ago……at the end of the day it’s the managers job to get a certain performance level from the players he has available. This group of players are a lot better than 20 points from 14 games with a goal difference of 0.
It’s December. We’ve played well once in 21 games. That’s barely believable.
If we play as we have done over the last 3 games in the upcoming months, even though it’s been a bit better than the preceding 18 games, we still won’t win many games of football. We’re on track to finish 8th-10th. It’s so fucking gutting.
I’ve come to the conclusion this season has set us back a minimum 5 years. Because of the money increase for Champions League teams next year, Utd are never coming back out of it again. They showed major balls in the summer, gambled by spending knowing the consequences of getting it right and getting it wrong. We’re condemned to finish another 10 years behind them. If that doesn’t fill you with depression and anger I don’t know what will. Throw in to the bargain Chelsea, City and pretty soon another London based financial giant reawakening in the next few years in Arsenal and I don’t see a very bright future for us, unless we get an oil rich sugar daddy. Those are the realities.
I agree with some of your comments Chris, Rodgers has made some catastrophic errors this season, mostly related to his stubborness, but top 4 is still on and the Mancs are still shite.
How would a sugar daddy help? Those days are over.
Set us back a MINIMUM of 5 years? How have you reached that conclusion?
Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal are in great shape and very likely to occupy 3 of the 4 CL spots. Man Utd appear to be getting more right than wrong and they’re a financial powerhouse that can compete with the oligarchs. Sooner or later they will be up there again, even if it’s not Whiskey Nose level of success.
This season should have been about solidifying position, not overspending on a bunch of hopefuls and midtable fodder players. The club appears to have assumed CL income and massive TV revenue is a given, it’s not. This year the club is going not appearing on TV like last season, because we’re basically boring crap. Last season we got an extra $40 million from all the TV games.
This side isn’t going to make the CL next season unless it wins it this year. Seeing as they can’t even beat players barely above conference level, there’s no chance of that happening.
The club is back to being a clusterfuck again, but it’s already spunked the money for the next 3 years.
Unless BR gets the side to go on a phenomenal run again, we’re back to 7th or thereabouts. Although FSG might find a buyer before then now that the stadium work is under way.
Neil, unless I’ve misjudges you really badly I find it strange you’re having a pop at Aaron Sorkin’s politics. I mean, you could have put Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, Bill O’Reilly or any other of the really right wing pricks in there.
But you choose a committed left of centre figure? Strange.
Unless of course, as I said, I’ve misjudged you badly!
And Merseyrail isn’t bad on Sundays. Except through the winter of course.
My thoughts too. I thought “the west wing fella? He’ alright”. Perhaps Neil is all right of centre. Perhaps he denies global Warming.
I initially felt this way as well… until I remembered, as an American, that Aaron Sorkin’s politics as represented in his writings usually consist of the sort of Clinton-era center-left dross that’s far too willing to compromise its values and bend to the whims of a better-organized opposition on the right. Remember, Jed Bartlett spent a good portion of his first term getting fuck-all done.
That, and the fact The Newsroom is insufferable and rubbish.
Real men of the left have little time for wishy-washy liberals or social democrats, Chris.
I agree, but (a) Neil is clearly a Labour supporter and (b) in the context of the article I’d still be putting a right wing prick in the place of a centre left activist!
My impression is that Neil’s on the Tony Benn/Terry Fields wing if he’s a Labour supporter at all. Quite right too.
Only if you’re into feeling good about yourself as opposed to making a difference.
I disagree Brownie, (there’s a surprise :-)) But this isn’t a politics site, so I’ll leave it at that. But it’s fundamentally wrong to reduce political conviction to narcissism.
“But it’s fundamentally wrong to reduce political conviction to narcissism.”
Well for some, that’s *precisely* what it is. A chronic self-indulgence. I learned that from most of the SWPers I met at Liverpool Poly in 1987, although I accept this is not a characteristic exclusive to Trots.
Really, my point was that there is a distinction between being political and wanting to do something politically. Tony Benn spent most of his life ‘being political’ and cared not if that meant having to embrace perpetual opposition. In fact, he seemed to embrace it. Which as an activist myself and life-long Labour party member, I just don’t understand. That doesn’t mean I’m totally incapable of acknowledging Benn’s conviction and even sharing the odd one, but my political heroes are those who actually got shit done and made an iota of difference to the everyday lives of working-class people, as opposed to fucking parasites like Fields whose “convictions” didn’t even stretch to him being willing to stand under his own poxy banner.
But like you say, this isn’t a politics blog.
Whereas Terry Fields, an old neighbour of mine, spent his political life serving his constituents. Imagine that.
Don’t buy into the narratives Brownie, Benn was an excellent if at times naive parliamentarian and has been proven right on many issues. He was also a serving minister under Wilson. Ask the miners what they think of Tony Benn: he and Skinner were about the only MP’s who gave a shit.
Terry Fields may have been the greatest constituency MP who has ever walked the earth. My point is that his conviction should have ensured he stood under a different banner instead of trying to suck the life out of the party that, you know, gave us the National Health Service and shit like that. Of course, we know why the MT mob never took that step – you just have to look at Fields’ vote in the 1992 election when he stood as an Independent.
So, actually, I’d like to retract the first sentence. He clearly wasn’t.
“Ask the miners what they think of Tony Benn”
My mother is from Hetton-le-Hole – as a LFC fan you’ve probably heard of it. Her father was a miner as were her four brothers, and in the year I took my ‘o’ levels I could occasionally be found standing next to my uncles on the picket line at Eppleton Colliery. With respect, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what the miners thought.
Good for you. Then you’d know that Benn was well received by miners’ in his constituency and was one of the only mainstream MP’s to draw attention to the behaviour of the unmarked police.
Terry Fields never took an MP’s wage. How on earth can you call him a parasite? You might want to retract that statement.
You should listen to the recent archive hour about MT. Ahead of their time.
Anyway, we disagree, so let’s close this down, this is a footy site. Politics is a serious business, footy less so.
I never suggested Fields was totally without principles. I mean ‘parasite’ in the very literal sense; MT were entryists and knew that on their own they were fuck all. So they tried to highjack the Labour movement and – make no mistake – they are at least partly responsible for ensuring Labour was unelectable throughout the 80s, thereby guaranteeing Thatcher’s re-election not once, but twice. Given I saw at first hand what that meant for places like Hetton (or indeed my father’s hometown of Dundee), I don’t much feel like retracting anything.
If any of the remaining MT guys fancy a walk into Hetton one day so they can explain to all the old miners how they were “ahead of their time”, I’ll be happy to arrange that. Degsy may want to keep his Jag running while they do that, however.
I’ll leave it there. A serious business, as you say.
Totally irrational argument.
Labour and the TUC betrayed the miners and Kinnock turned Labour into Thatcherites. But have it your way.
What’s your favourite colour? Just trying to find some common ground.
Red of course :-)
What the hell’s happened to this team? They’re a nervous wreck, as is the manager. The football is awful. The only threat throughout the game seemed to be Sterling, who was getting lumps kicked out of him. Surprised Mason didn’t join in – he seemed to think it’s open season.
As BR, he’s desperate, perhaps understandably. Last season, even at 3-1 he would have taken off a defensive midfielder and brought on an attacker. This season, he would sub on three additional goalkeepers if the rules allowed it (actually, come to think of it …).
Oh well. At least we’re above Spurs.
Well we have lost half of our goals from last season and that’s enough for most teams to turn into a nervous wreck my friend,
I imagine most people commenting on here has played footie at some level or another and will remember those days as a kid/teen when your two best players can’t play for whatever reason,
Totally diff feeling getting changed for the game,
Nobody wants to pipe up but there is a air of worry and that’s when two men and there dog are gonna be watching.
I first encountered Lee Mason when he sent off Carragher and Degen away at Fulham back in 2009. He’s not improved since then and tonight was appalling. Sterling was booted about the park and Mason was revelling in not giving decisions in Raheem’s favour.
But despite his ineptitude, a win was ground out and, pretty though it wasn’t, and fragile though the team still clearly is, there’s progress taking place. And progress is what matters at the moment….
I think that’s the point. We almost hit rock bottom and the climb back up is never rapid. There’ll be a few more stumbles along the way but we can still come out of this provided the manager has got over his trying to be too clever by doing what nobody expects phase.
Steven will get the press of course, but good shows also by Lucas & Kolo. Now, all we need is for Martin to step up a bit more rather than constantly retreating. Or bring Sakho in?
And Lee Marvin’s a better ref than Lee Mason. Apparently.
“provided the manager has got over his trying to be too clever by doing what nobody expects phase”
Can’t help agreeing with that to a certain extent.
Skrtel’s gradually creeping onto the radar. Needs to improve. I wonder would Lovren look any better without him. It’s a long shot but who knows.
Great stuff, that is, Neil. Lee Mason is worse than turning round and seeing no bog roll.
Slow first halves might be intentional.
Would like to have seen Markovic given some pitch time second half. Lovren’s walked off the pitch celebrating as a winner and the love should be shared round. Mason’s a **** and Sterling was being knocked about so accept it, sub him last 15 and give Markovic a run.
Another three points, a well deserved win but better teams on the horizon and our fullbacks are woeful.
I think I fucking hate Mason. And McManaman’s gloves and coat combo was excessively, surreally awful.
No self-awareness whatsoever. Both Steve and Lee.
Great to get two wins on the bounce, but f*uck me we are playing shite! You would be hard pressed at times deciding who was bottom of the league. Lucas is truly worthy of Rodgers’ perennial compliment – outstanding. He’s not world clash, but he has got balls the bloke. To be publicly frozen out and then return to the rescue is simply brilliant. He gives everything and is really effective.
Lambert also gives everything, but bless him, he doesn’t have that much to give. A better forward would have tormented Leicester’s poor defence, Lambert put himself about and not that much more.
Onward and hopefully upward.and of course Mason is an utter c*nt.
Mason is awful. But at least he wasn’t worse than stepping on a lego brick.
There’s hope for him yet!
I saw a banner on Twitter tonight that the Dortmund fans had. Translated it apparently said something along the lines of ‘and if you fall, we’ll be there with you’. How embarrassing! Obviously not for the Dortmund fans, they seem brilliant fans. Embarrassing because I’d forgotten that was what being a fan was about. A lot of “the best fans in the world” have forgotten too. Anyway, unrelated to tonight’s match – just an observation.
This game was huge. 3 points were vital. All day I’d been convinced we were gonna beat them. So when we went 1-0 down I got all those too familiar feelings. There was about 30 seconds of feeling deflated, quickly followed by the thought that this was gonna be one of those games we’d expected to win but it wasn’t gonna pan out like that. Then came the anger and the looking for scapegoats (although I didn’t have to look far). I thought, can we score 2 without them scoring. My conclusion was it was possible but unlikely. My point is, I remember that feeling. I’ve had it a lot recently. It’s not good for ya. When you wake up in the morning it’s there in seconds. If only we could play the match again but win this time. It eats away at ya. The fact that I haven’t got it now makes me incredibly happy. I couldn’t give a shit about the performance. I’m only thinking about Sunderland and whether we can get 3 points. We won tonight. That’s good. It’s so much better than the other feelings and I for one am made up.
Lovren gets the winner against Swansea, Johnson gets it against Stoke and now Stevie. Expect Mignolet to score from a goal kick pretty soon. In saying that, he can’t clear the half way line so probably not. I wanna say Lallana has to be given a run but it’s at whose expense. It’s difficult. Those Lucas win rate stats that are pretty interesting. If anyone hasn’t seen them – Liverpool this season in all comps: with Lucas: WWLWWLWDWW (7W, 1D, 2L) without Lucas: LWLDLWLDLLL (2W, 2D, 7L).
What people often forget is you have to beat what is in front of you. If a team has 3 games, 2 against a lower half team and one against a top 4 side and they play wank against the 2 bottom half sides then it doesn’t mean that’s how they’ll play wank against the top 4 side. Teams raise their game. All we had to do was get the points tonight and we passed.
Agree with every word. Love the first paragraph (your first paragraphs are always your best, Robin – like the first Cadbury Crème Egg of the season. There’s nowt wrong with number 2, 3 or 17, but nothing will ever match the first. Have I over-done it, do you think?)
Haha, the first paragraph is usually the point I wanted to make but then I think – well, I’m here now, I might as well carry on. It just becomes rambling. Random thoughts.
I love your posts Robin because it saves me the bother of typing, I can just say ‘agree with every word’!
What I will say myself, though, is that I quite like McManaman’s gloves. Distinguished, and in a different way to Mason.
I’m with you on Lucas. I have seen lots of players curl up and die when the crowd turns on them – I was actually a big that way myself – but Lucas was subjected to more groans than any player should be. He was being asked by Rafa to play a role that was not bus natural game, but his spirit and self-respect prevailed. And after a second serious injury and being cold-shouldered by Rodgers he still fronts up when asked and gives his all.
He was described by one TV commentator as ‘possibly the nicest man in football’.i don’t know about that, but his attitude to the club is exemplary.
Great Lucas stat attack Robin!
Agreed, we’ve just got to win these games, however, whatever….
Thought you’d like that Paul, haha. It was lifted off Twitter. Interesting stat though.
P.s you’re lucky you’re in Finland this morning, cold here mate.
‘and if you fall, we’ll be there with you’
There’s a similar sentiment I have a vague memory of, something about not walking alone…
Yeah mate. Shame it’s just a song and no one actually considers the sentiment anymore.
In fairness Robin some people do stick by the team through thick & thin and for the first time this season the Dortmund team got a bollocking from the away support after losing last weekend (Frankfurt I think),
The second half against Stoke was the loudest I have heard Anfield in a while,
Keep up the good posts by the way, between you POF, Chris and a few others I look forward to them as much as the latest article.
I sometimes wonder if there’s a discord between the home fans and the away fans. The away fans seem sound. Admittedly, if you take the area I sit there’s only a few moaners but they’re so constant and vocal it perhaps gives a false indication of the Anfield crowd. The thing is, Rodgers is here for the season and I hope beyond that. It’s one thing having a moan about him, most of us have done that over the last few weeks. What I can stand is when we win and people come on here and still find faults, regardless. It leads me to think it’s not objective but subjective. Same thing is happening with Gerrard now. I don’t wanna see him as the one protecting our defence. If he plays a different role and does well though I’m happy. I just wonder about peoples motives.
Given what we’ve been through recently and where we are psychologically right now, I thought the performance was better than Neil and others are crediting here. I’m not so much talking about the quality of the football, rather the other characteristics on display: grit, resilience, determination, stubbornness all spring to mind. In our last three games we’ve been behind twice and gone in at half-time on the back of our worse performance of the season, and we’ve escaped with one draw and two wins. There’s plenty needs fixing in this Liverpool team, but as Al Pacino says in ‘Scent of a Woman’, our character is IN-TAAAAACT.
Gerrard was the best player on the pitch by a country mile. He was involved in anything half-decent Liverpool did, and he still looked to be getting around the pitch as the game wound down. And unlike almost every other player who did well for us tonight, I can’t think of one egregious error he made e.g. Lucas had another good game overall, but he was awful for their goal and is still conceding too many fouls around our box.
I totally accept our performances need to improve, but I’ll take scrappy and 6 points over impressive and fewer points this week. Whichever team takes the pitch on Saturday should be that bit more confident, that bit less anxious and that can be all that’s needed to turn fretful and fitful football into something more fluid and dynamic. Some players have been rotated and we’ll benefit from that on Saturday assuming Rodgers doesn’t go with the same 11 (which he won’t). Meanwhile, Sunderland have the small matter of City tomorrow, with almost certainly no rotation to help them before they turn up at Anfield with 1 day less rest than us.
As my Gran used to say, I’m as happy as a pig amongst shit. And whatever happened to playing poorly and still winning being a good sign?
Lord above Brownie, he wasn’t. And he made several errors.
I know you love him, but don’t go overboard. He put in a decent shift and provided some quality where we needed it. The chance couldn’t’ have fallen to a more reliable player, you always knew he’d tuck that away, but against more mobile teams than Leicester he’ll be found out
“I know you love him”
Damn straight! It’s a love that has no beginneth, and no end…eth.
I know we’re never going to agree about Gerrard so this is mostly pointless, however…
I’m not so blind that I won’t call him out when he plays bad, and I won’t give him MotM when I don’t think he deserves it. If you watched the telly and/or listened to the radio last night, you’ll know I’m in pretty good company when it comes to making Gerrard MotM. Yeah, I know – purely sentimental, right?
He scored one that he also helped to create – the first time ball to Sterling was pretty good, I thought. If the ref does his job he’s almost certainly bagging two with the non-penalty. He actually made a very similar run to the one that led to the non-penalty just after when Sterling had a simple pass to play him in, but didn’t get the elevation over the centre-half. His defending at corners has been good in recent games – how many near-post headers has he won now? Basic stuff, I know, but that’s the point: he’s back to doing the basic stuff well and last night was providing the little bits of quality to link play, create chances and score them.
What is it Benitez used to talk about? Game intelligence, right? Gerrard has more of that anyone else in the team and it’s that – together with other intangibles e.g. his sheer presence, force of will, talismanic qualities – that have always made Gerrard greater than the sum of his parts.
When he reties, his stats will be pretty good but they won’t tell half the story.
What the last few games have shown us is that Gerrard still has a future, just not as a holding midfielder. With our lack of goals in the team he should have been playing that advanced role for the past few months.
With the lack of movement in the team up front, I’d agree. When Sturridge returns – depending how Rodgers wants to go in terms of partner – he could go back to what he was doing last season, for my money.
Do you remember a discussion on here a couple of months ago (can’t remember whether you were directly involved) when I was disputing this notion that just because he played where he played that did not mean Gerrard was being deployed as a DM? Well, if you saw the Rodgers interview after the game you’ll have heard that confirmed. Gerrard last season was the deep-lying playmaker (think Pirlo). With Sterling, Suarez and Sturridge in front you had perpetual movement and SG had multiple targets to hit every time he looked up field. With an orthodox two up front, Liverpool could stretch the play more, creating extra space in midfield and giving Gerrard the opportunity to launch attacks or just link play from a more advanced platform.
This season, with one or two exceptions (Spurs away with Balotelli and Sturridge up top), this has barely happened. So as you say, without the movement and with just the one up top, play is more condensed, Gerrard is 10 yards further back and in the process becomes a de facto DM even if when that hasn’t been the intention. Presumably Rodgers saw this but hoped that we could still play our way out the mire but this didn’t happen. It may have taken longer than it should, but the penny seems to have dropped and Rodgers knows that, at least until he gets Sturridge back, there’s no point playing Gerrard where he played him last season. He knows Gerrard in *this* team will be more effective further up the pitch, but he also knows that position requires a different set of physical attributes that Gerrard can’t bring to every game, hence he’ll be rotated for here on, or until he reverts to using Gerrard as the deep-lying playmaker.
Seems fair. I just think his place in the team should be dependent on the opposition. Mind you, I think that about all our players except Sturridge (and Kolo and Lucas at the moment but hopefully not forever!)
I did watch it Brownie, and no-one called it. Must have been watching different er…channels.
Well Virgin have taken LFC TV away so I don’t know what they were saying after the game, but on BT Sport the ‘official’ man of the match – as selected by St Michael of Owen – was Gerrard. And the next 30 mins were basically a love-in with everyone from Savage, McManaman to McAllister eulogizing him. If I’m 100% honest, I probably agree there was a touch of ‘he’s our guy’ about it all. But I absolutely do think he was our best player.
This is a fair review:
One by one the journalists are beginning to recognize he’s human. I kind of agree with Steve Graves: the sooner the relationship with Gerrard is normalized, the better. I just wonder whether it’s possible.
I’m with you on the near post headers!
C’mon Brownie, Game intelligence really isn’t his greatest strength. Speed of thought in attacking areas, intuitive passing and composure in front of goal are his great strengths. If he had great game intelligence he’d have adapted to the holding role easily. Wish he had myself, always thought he had the makings of a great sweeper had he been able to adjust his game mentally. Loved his goal last night btw, wouldn’t have wanted that chance to fall to anyone else, he really is a great finisher. The penalty that wasn’t: should put to rest arguments about his legs. The Gerrard of old wouldn’t have had to dive into the keeper. Not his fault mind, just one of those sad moments I’d rather forget. But, and I can’t stress this enough, he did play well last night, in the context of a poor but gutsy performance.
“he’d have adapted to the holding role easily”
He’s not playing a holding role. I’ve mentioned this previously and Rodgers confirmed it. He’s meant to be playing a Pirlo-type, deep playmaker role, just as he did last season, not your archetypal DM. It’s sometimes morphed into a de facto DM role, but that’s because of the other shit happening around him (no forward movement, no target to hit, Liverpool’s midfield having to start from too deep, etc.).
“The Gerrard of old wouldn’t have had to dive into the keeper”
Are you taking the piss now? Watch it again. Gerrard’s run never deviates from the straight. He jumps because he thinks Schmeichel is coming through him. The keeper doesn’t (at least initially), Gerrard lands – still on the same path that he took off from – takes one more step and then Schmeichel collides into him, making no contact with the ball whatsoever. Nailed on pen.
So far, the only people I’ve heard even attempt to claim that it wasn’t a penalty are Nigel Pearson, Lee Mason and you.
Jim Beglin thought he was looking for it. So did I. That’s my point: indecision comes with age. The young Gerrard would have slotted that home with ease, but, as I say I don’t blame him for that.
Being a deep-lying playmaker doesn’t men you’re immune to everything else around you Brownie! You’re still expected to read the game, make the odd interception or track runners. That’s called common-sense and responsibility: it comes with being part of a team. Don’t believe everything Brendan says, he clearly hoped he’d adapt.
“Being a deep-lying playmaker doesn’t men you’re immune to everything else around you Brownie! You’re still expected to read the game, make the odd interception or track runners. That’s called common-sense and responsibility: it comes with being part of a team.”
And you’re implicitly suggesting Gerrard doesn’t do any of those things, which is of course ridiculous. You often do this when it comes to Gerrard: to make your point, you paint a picture of a guy who resembles some beer-bellied Sunday league midfielder who everyone else in the side wishes would stay in bed. Gerrard doesn’t double as Makelele when deployed as the deep-lying playmaker and no-one said he did, but the idea that he’s incapable of reading the game and some sort of statue that mediocre opponents stroll by at will is pure fantasy.
Check the stats Brownie. Lucas v Gerard. I suspect you’ll find Lucas made more interceptions and tackles in one game than Gerrard has for the whole season: no defensive nous. That was ok last season, he contributed in other ways, not this. Even Rodgers has finally acknowledged as much.
Thanks for putting into words that which I inferred btw, He is, sadly, exactly how you describe him in that position ‘ incapable of reading the game and some sort of statue that mediocre opponents stroll by at will.’ Couldn’t have put it better myself. I’ve lost count of the number of times players passed him as though he wasn’t there over the last two to three seasons and it distresses me every time I see it, because they are often just that, average players not fit to lace Stevie’s bootlaces in his prime. Even fanboys like Henry Winter and Paul Wilson have belatedly acknowledged his defensive frailties.
Hoist by your own petard, I’m afraid. Watch a re-run of the Chelsea game (this season) and watch Oscar et al spin off him with ease.
Still, we’re all agreed that he’s better off further up the pitch aren’t we?
I’m not “hoist” by anything, Paul, because there is no fundamental difference between us on the main points, which are:
1 – Gerrard is not suited to a DM role (insofar as he’s played as one, which is not nearly so often as you think. You’re confusing a rough position on the pitch with role)
2 – Lucas is better as a DM
We’re separated by degrees, not principles. As I wrote above, when discussing Gerrard’s failing as a DM, no hyperbole is too great for you. So instead of having a player who is just too slow and for that role, and not defensively minded enough, we have a complete football novice who can’t walk around the block without needing oxygen. See, you’ve got me doing it now. Conversely, you seem completely blind to the foibles and failings of Lucas in that role, albeit he’s admittedly superior to Gerrard. So no mention of Bojan going past him like he was standing still on Saturday, or the fact Lucas turned his back on Leicester’s winger on Tuesday for their goal, having allowed him to come inside when all he had to do was show him down the outside. But you can remember Oscar spinning off Gerrad in the Chelsea game. Gee, I wonder if he’s ever done that to anyone before?
As for check the stats, if they couldn’t show Lucas made more tackles and interceptions than Gerrard, then there would be very little point him being in the squad. I may as well ask you how many penalties Lucas has scored.
See, this is now going to look like I’m ragging on Lucas which is not the intention; I’m just pointing out that this compulsion you have to talk up Gerrard’s weaknesses and play down his strengths until they’re barely recognizable detracts from an otherwise fair point, albeit I still say our defensive issues are about a whole lot more than who happens to be occupying the DM spot game to game, something I thought we’d agreed with our shared observations about the transition.
Brownie, you really are remarkably inconsistent.
1. Good. Glad to see you get that. I’m not confusing anything. The deepest midfielder still has a duty to help his team mates. It’s common-sense isn’t it? The hyperbole is all yours, I’m afraid. I’ve made no mention of oxygen,statues, beer-bellies or novices. All your words. He just doesn’t read the game well enough and no longer has the legs to make up for that. Not a crime, but a pity. And nothing new by the way. It’s all in the head in that position and he’s always been an attack-minded player. I think we all just hoped he’d make a go of it because he’s got all the tools.
2. As for Lucas, Indeed he is, but he’s far from perfect as I’ve frequently pointed out. He gives away far too many stupid free kicks in dangerous areas. I’m glad he’s starting games again, because he improves the team and is the best DM on the books, but, as I’ve repeatedly posted and as you’re well aware, I wish we’d signed Song or Cabaye in the summer. Both better players, both upgrades. I can only conclude that you’re either very confused or are confusing me with other posters.
3. Stats and penalties? Well you don’t pick a player just for pens. Or do you? But yes, they have different qualities.
4. Team shape. I agree with you about our weakness at transitions. But it’s no coincidence that we’ve improved defensively and improved our transitional play since Lucas came back into the team. Or is it? And if we are weak at transitions, leaving the deepest midfielder exposed, who would you rather have as the deepest midfielder?
5. Gerrard: strengths v weaknesses. As I posted earlier his strengths, at this stage of his career, are incisive and intuitive passing in the final third and composed finishing. His weaknesses have always been a lack of defensive nous and his tendency to force play. I’m reticent about playing him because he needs to be accommodated. Everybody knows this hence the constant speculation about his best role in the team. I’d rather we focus on the future and a more fluid, mobile game, hence my occasional references to the Spurs game last season. But right now I’ll settle for wins and though other payers have to move around to accommodate him, I accept he gives us know-how and quality in the final third: he and Sturridge are the best finishers at the club by a country mile (Lord knows what’s happened to Mario). The priority this season has to be top four and if Steven Gerrard helps to make that happen then, though I might whine a bit, I’ll be happy. The loss of Suarez and Sturridge had been huge and has made his position at the base of midfield untenable: again, not his fault, but his passing from deep has been poor this season as a consequence.
6. I wish we weren’t having this conversation. I wish we could feel confident that he’s accept a more restricted role, as befits his age without issue. Scholes did it, Giiggs did it. Why are we different? I don’t know the answer to that one, I’m afraid, but I don’t remember stories in the national press about Giggs, Scholes, contracts and playing time. Scholes had a strop once, early in his career and that as far as I recall, was that.
I’m not sure where you think I’ve been inconsistent. But this is no longer good for my health, so I’ll leave it after this, I think.
My contention is that if a Martian landed here tomorrow and read your assessment of how Gerrard has been playing the last two years (and I mean your assessment of him playing anywhere, but let’s restrict ourselves to the DM/deep-lying role he’s occupied for purposes of this discussion) and then watched the videos of the games, he wouldn’t recognize the two as being related. Not because Gerrard is a great DM, but because your depiction of his play there is grossly exaggerated, and not in a good way.
Lucas has been back for 4 games (the last 3 and the Madrid game) and we’ve conceded 4 goals. I’m not sure that too many conclusions can be drawn from that, but as it happens I don’t think we do look any more defensively sound in the last few games. Or rather, we may do but only marginally so. Stoke created some very good chances and had as many attempts on goal as we did, and Leicester had us pinned back with 10 men. I actually thought the back-four played well against Leicester but as a team we didn’t look any more solid through the middle or better in transition. In fact, for long periods in the second-half there wasn’t any transition as we could barely get out of our half. Even then, I wouldn’t argue with you that Lucas should be the man occupying the DM role, it’s just that this transformation you noticed since Gerrard moved away from the DM position has yet to register with me. A marginal improvement is better than none, but my point is that you’re exaggerating the effect this switch has had in order to buttress your arguments for how bad Gerrard was in that role.
In combination with everything else you write about Gerrard – including the insinuation he’s a destabilizing influence, what he is/isn’t prepared to accept from the manager, the size of his ego, the responsibility for what appears in the press (all sans evidence) to the way he celebrates a feckin’ goal – it’s clear to me you just have a downer on the guy. Fair enough, it would be boring if we were all the same, but let’s drop the pretence we’re getting an honest broker view when you sit down to type another comment about how Gerrard is holding the team back. Just tell us you think he is a big-headed cock and we should get rid. I could deal with that.
Not an argument Brownie.
I’ve already acknowledged that I’m more likely to see the flaws. Why can’t you acknowledge that you’re less likely too? Your Leicester argument is absurd. You posit that we’re not better at transitions then talk about passages of play that have nothing to do with transitions and everything to do with defensive solidity.
I conceded a lot of ground in my post. Why is it still impossible to have a critical perspective on a player?
For the record, I don’t think we’ve improved enormously since Lucas replaced the skipper, we’re talking marginal gains and there’s still a lot of work to do. But let’s be grateful for small mercies.
Btw Brownie, I’ve no wish to damage your health. We probably agree on more than we disagree. We both support the manager, we both support the club, we’re both on the left, we both agree that the skipper should be utilized more sparingly and further up the pitch, we both agree that Lucas is a better DM than the skipper. It’s just degrees, as you say and we’ve both reached come to more reasonable positions through talking it through.
I don’t think Gerrard’s ‘a big-headed cock’, though, and have no idea why you keep making extreme statements then ascribing them to me. I’ve been very clear about my position and, if he does decide to go, you weren’t hear any cries of Judas from this corner.
If you play him just behind the attack there will be nothing to find out.
If by being found out means that people can now run past him and he cannot catch them – so what. At 35 he shouldn’t be expected too to do that. If he plays, remove his defending responsibilities and use his strengths. How many of our players would have scored from there – that is one of his strengths that the deep lying role removes.Lucas/Allen/Henderson can do the defending part. Mr Lampard at City is a good example of what we should be using him for.
Personally I am with the feel the points, sod the quality group. Actually read the papers, felt happy when I woke up, listened to the radio for sport rather than music/politics/news! I know its stupid and at 51 should know better – but I dont!!
I can’t believe how old we all are on here. Shouldn’t we have better things to do in life?
Not a chance Robin,
Family, footie & friends in that order!!!
Actually finding myself getting more obsessed the older I get which is a tad worrying.
Well I’m writing a thesis……..
And like Derek I’m getting more obsessed. Think that has to do with being so far away though.
Ha, I think we’re all getting more obsessed. I put it down to the internet. Every aspect is analysed in a way it wasn’t in the past. It just raises the expectations from match days.
Paul, can I ask what your thesis is on? It’s the little things in life that I’m curious about.
Mine was on public participation in the planning process. To summarise, they go through the motions of listening then fuck you off.
David Peace, the miners’ strike and GB84. All about memory, history and narratives Robin, how they are constructed and transmitted, and how they can be utilized and challenged.
Wow, sounds excellent mate. I just hope you’re putting the same amount of time into it as you are about Gerrard, on here, haha. Good luck with it!!
I should be!
Thanks btw. Quite passionate about it. The miners got royally screwed and the fourth estate were complicit in that shafting.
Yeah mate, we knew it at the time. As the years have passed a lot of it has been proven.
Saw a thing recently about Orgreave, how the police steamed into the miners and they defended themselves but the BBC edited the footage to show the miners fighting the police before it showed them steaming in. Obviously to give the impression the police brutality was in self defence from the barbaric miners. Makes my blood boil.
My blood’s been boiling for about 30 years!
No I don’t mean that. He’ll just get marked. It doesn’t take a great leap of intelligence to realize that if you can reduce his influence by man-marking him in the holding position, you can do the same in the attacking position. Teams will work that out. Won’t they?
That was the beauty of his game when he was younger: no-one could man-mark him!
Good point Paul but I would prefer to have that happening at the edge of the oppositions box than ours and when that ball dropped to him did anyone have any doubt where it was gonna end up? Me neither,
Great strike from Lllllllllaaaaaannnnaa also and even though he looks absolutely knackered after five mins of every game you can see he is also finding some form.
No, I had no doubt. He remains out best finisher in Sturridge’s absence.
If opposition teams feel the need to man-mark Gerrard, what does that tell you about their perception of the harm he might do? And it’s always harder to man-mark someone the further up the pitch they go because in those advanced positions the person you’re trying to man-mark can take more risks with flicks, first-time balls, passes they wouldn’t attempt if you’ve got them man-marked 25 yards from their own goal.
That goes back to your point about other players stepping up Brownie, one that I accept. Teams could have neutralized Gerrard last season (Villa did) but had their hands full with better players.