WINNING has always been the most important thing in football. Winning games, winning trophies, winning leagues — just winning. Liverpool have played two football games this season and won both of them. This should be seen as a great positive — a platform to build on, something that can help kick start a successful season. Has it been viewed like that? You tell me. Think about the people around you in the ground last night. The people you have seen on social media sites or fan forums. The people on radio phone ins….
Fella on BBC Radio Merseyside: "There's no doubt about it after tonight, Rodgers has got to go".
Liverpool won mate, cheer the fuck up.
— Sachin Nakrani (@SachinNakrani) August 17, 2015
Starts to league campaigns have become strange things, for a whole host of reasons. Firstly pre-seasons are mad. There is always some international tournament or five going on which extends the previous season, seemingly by longer and longer times. Next summer there is the European Championships, The Olympic Games, The Centennial Copa America and The Caribbean Cup. After which an international player arrives at a new club after holiday only to find his team on the other side of the world playing a Bengal XI. So you get situations like the Firmino one, with him meeting his team-mates a week before the start of the season despite him signing in June.
Football clubs are also seemingly buying more players than every before, possibly as a result of a greater managerial turnover and a general increase in impatience. Minor tweaks are out, and squad overhauls are in. Liverpool gave home debuts to five new players last night, and had three other players who are yet to play for Liverpool on the bench. In fact the highest number of league appearances on the bench was Kolo Toure with 32. You sometimes get the impression names on the back of shirts were brought in so the players themselves could find out who each other is.
On top of this we have the transfer window. The failings of which we discussed with Rory Smith on TAW Player this week. The first Premier League game this season was over four weeks before the transfer window SLAMS SHUT. Most clubs will add before the end of the month. Several will add more than one. Squads are changing all the time. Never mind names on the back of shirts, it might be an idea to introduce name badges on the front during the first few weeks of the season. How many first 11s in the league will be radically different first week in September than first week in August, never mind the last week in May?
August has become a month of upheaval — getting to know each other and managers trying to figure out the best way to get the best out of what they have, in terms of talent and varying levels of fitness. But the juggernaut that is the Premier League waits for no man, and there are points to be won. Four games before an international break and the madness of Transfer Deadline Day. Even Liverpool, who did their business notably early, will better know where they are at by September. Firmino sharper. Other news players more settled. The possibility (whisper it) of the best striker in the league raring to go.
Four games. You’d have always took nine points. Maybe now you’d fancy 10? And 12 is not actually out of the question. Already at least six. August. A month to get through with as much as you can at the end. Liverpool obviously need to improve. They need to become a more cohesive attacking force, they need to sort out the midfield balance a touch and they need to get bodies nearer Benteke.
But they also need to keep picking up points. Picking up points while others, who have their own issues to sort we often forget, are dropping theirs. Picking up points while Chelsea are 16th.
Interestingly, it’s become a skill we value in others but devalue in ourselves. I’ve already heard Liverpool fans describe Manchester United’s start as ‘ominous’. Grinding out wins while not playing well. Winning ugly before they add more attacking talent.
So why can’t we see the same in ourselves? Why are Manchester United going to improve, yet we are going to get ‘found out’?
The season feels strange this year. Four games before a gap and then the season starts ‘proper’. But this is not a dress rehearsal. This is the gig. These points count for the same as the ones in February. It’s as real as it gets. Half built squads and new partnerships sent out to get the best they can. And Liverpool so far have got the best they can. Only three other teams in the league can say the same.
Do Liverpool need to improve? Absolutely. But the Reds under Rodgers have always found a way to play effectively. This time they are winning games and not giving away chances in the mean time. It’s plenty to be positive about while we wait for it all to click.
MATCH REVIEW: Liverpool 1 Bournemouth 0
MATCH RATINGS: Liverpool v Bournemouth
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo
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I think ever since Suarez left, the football we’ve seen has resembled more of a Houllier team. Even during the unbeaten run last season
Even more so now with Benteke in the team, not necessarily a bad thing per se, but we probably have to stop expecting everything to click offensively like it did when Suarez and Sturridge were around.
Aye. Put the ball in the back of the net, we can discuss philosophy later. Ideally not at all.
There’s not many who think BR is a c*nt as much as I do, and I’ve been hardly impressed with what I have seen so far. But even I’m giving him a good few more games.
Wow, aren’t you a delight.
Spot on there John.
“So why can’t we see the same in ourselves? Why are Manchester United going to improve, yet we are going to get ‘found out’?”
Probably a bit of self-deprecation, expectation management & cod-psychology on the part of the masochists that go the match. I came out the ground last night more than happy with 6 points, two clean sheets and our latest no.9 off the mark. Admittedly it felt like I was in the minority, but then I try and enjoy the match. Mad concept, eh?
But roll on September, for the expected the return of you-know-who and a sense of greater cohesion. Always love an Indian Summer.
Is right. Couldn’t believe some of the comments I heard in the ground and on the way out last night “Firmino doesn’t look up to much”. Never mind a new manager, we need a new crowd. One that doesn’t collectively shit itself whenever the opposition gets into the final third, or starts getting edgy cos we’re not winning 3-0 at half time.
Frank u rite. These idiots complain everything .
U win title with points n yes sometimes with goals if it has to be.
It is new team. We are luck to start with small teams yes we knw but we took the chance very well
People……seem to be missing something in the team at the moment, people are talking about balance but not may are actually studying the game. What we are missing is somebody to exploit the good work done by Benteke at the moment. Benteke seems isolated up top with nobody playing in the pockets around him. This is where i see Sturridge fitting in, with Benteke pulling defenders out of position and always there providing a flick on or knock down I see Sturridge flourishing. Also, I can see us using a combination of our current play combined with seasons gone by as Benteke gives us that variation. In season past we were too predictable and teams were able to shut up shop against us, now it will be far more difficult. Coutinho, will also benefit from having the 2 strikers ahead of him as he can go short to Benteke and have him hold up or create the flicks and interchange around the edge of the box as his strength will ensure we don’t loose the ball and he can also go over the backline to Sturridge who can run the channels.
I am assuming that this was the reasoning behind Rodgers signing Benteke as we will give teams a real headache this way.
What I am saying is that things will take time and I can see that Rodgers does have some method to his madness. Some may say you an never rely on Sturridge given his track record with injuries but I think that Ings and Origi will eventually come to the fore.
I say that we should all give it till Christmas by then we will see the bigger picture, for now just get behind our boys…..#YNWA
I get so sick of hearing moaning fans calling for the managers head. Their loan ng voices just make me want to throw myself off a building and have a end to it all. I also question the impartiality of the reporting and commentary on the cable channel I watched it’s like they really had a downer on Liverpool. Also I question whether all the scousers callers were Red fans and not Blue noses Stirling things up pretending to be a reds fan. The team has got us 6 points whilst not playing well I believe they will improve. YNWA l
Are people that desperate to get the manager sacked that they will complain about a win, think we all know the answer to that . There is some so called reds “fans” would prefer us getting beat just so Rodgers will be got rid off and they can say told u so , it’s the very same with lovern they are just waiting for any sort of mistake so they can get on twitter and slate him . Really don’t get it support the team or piss off what’s the point otherwise
Outstanding work John, sums up exactly where we should all be…..bearing in mind we have a 100% start to the season!
Love the responses on here, really cheered me up. I shouldn’t actually need cheering up but all the moaners on the radio and social media have got me down a bit. I never thought I would ever see the day that some of our own would be annoyed at getting maximum points just because they hate the manager. Excellent article, full of common sense, something which appears to be in short supply. Apparently Stoke away is an easy game and all the other sides have had it much harder. Never mind that Every game in the premier league is tough. I’m happy with the side, we’re obviously trying to keep a shape and focusing on taking the points, exactly how it should be in the first few games.
I hear what you are saying about the need to be cheered up. The vitriol aimed at Rodgers is well over the top: so-called Liverpool ‘fans’ on public forums almost pleading for Arsenal to thrash us because it will strengthen the case to sack Rodgers? It doesn’t get much more bizarre than that.
Is it just me or has there been a quantum shift in the supporter base over the last couple of years?
Not living in Liverpool I don’t get to talk to fellow supporters every day (come to think of it, my only regular football conversation is with a Spurs fan – and he thinks Rodgers is doing a good job!), but even with access to only on-line chatter I don’t remember this level of childish hatred before. Disappointment? Yes. Frustration? Yes, but this naked contempt for the manager?
Two games, two clean sheets, two wins, six points. Job done thus far. The haters must be fuming.
Spot on as usual.
Question for everyone, did Andy Heaton phone merseyside last night? Maybe as a wind up?
If not was it just me that thought this.
He didn’t. He was in The Stanley having a bevy.
Two wins from two, Benteke scoring on the winner on his home debut. You must be gutted. Chin up mate; they’re bound to lose one soon and you’ll have something to feed your obsession with.
Yeah, finding something to smile about in the little things in life is such a drag. Still, misery loves company so why don’t you get yourself a budgie – keep it in the cage, though, for its own protection.
Now that was funny
And you my dear friend sounds more and more like the pizza boy who delivers a ham and pineapple instead of a pepperoni.
I understsnd that some comments are over the top, caling for managers head two games in is pointless. Honestly though, sometimes I come on here and I see people simply state what they saw take place in a match (Quite often, its exactly as I saw it) and get labelled miserable or negative and sometimes get accused of having an agenda. Not all wins are created equal, these past two games have been underwhelming, not very comforting/convincing. Thats a fact for a lot of fans, obviously not for all. But tell me this, do these past two wins fill you with confidence going into this game against Arsenal at the Emirates where we got blown away last time out?
Calling for his head two games in after two poor results would be well over the top, after two wins and two clean sheets it is utter madness. I don’t get what people were expecting for the start of this season. As John wrote, we just need to get through these 4 games, pick up as many points as we can and buy ourselves some time to start gelling the team together. The only team to start strongly this year are City, and they have had only had minor additions to their starting 11 for the last 3 seasons.
I was feeling slightly optimistic about things this season until read Padraigs piece above!
Its interesting that the team you propose we play will probably be the one we go with once September is out of the way. Its not so depressing as you make out. Gomez ha done well and from the look of Moreno in the friendly and when he came on that has lit up his backside too.
In essence your (and mine too) only real gripe is what the F is he playing Lovren for with Sakho at our club. That Sakho hasnt even been on the bench implies a possible disipline problem and lets not foget Sakho is the most injury prone centre back I can remember since Jonathan Woodgate.
Agree with most of that.
Two underwhelming 1-0 wins shouldn’t fill us with optimism that we’re about to storm the league this year.
I think the point John (thanks for the article btw) was trying to make is that it’s not all doom & gloom either. He points out that a number of other clubs that will be aiming for top 4 have had a poor start too. It’s very much early days and heads shouldn’t be falling off either way.
I guess it’s about keeping things in proportion. Two scrappy 1-0 wins don’t mean that we are world beaters but they also don’t mean we should be calling for the managers head.
As for Arsenal – I’ve never gone there feeling optimistic (going back 30 years) and so nothing has changed there.
Yes, because WE ARE LIVERPOOL!!!!!
Piss off troll
If I was a Rodgers hater (I’m not, but I’m also not entirely sure we shouldn’t have taken the chance to upgrade to Klopp in the summer) I’d stop moaning and see this season as a no lose situation. If the reds are crap, I’d get what I wanted and the manager would go. If we’re good, then I’d obviously be happy too, because winning football matches is sort of the point.
Seems to me like too many of our negative fans would still be miserable if we got top 4 this season, because the thought of being proved wrong about Brendan is so terrible that they actually wouldn’t enjoy us winning football matches. Madness.
I see your point. I for one have always believed that you build from the bottom up. Solid defence might not literally win you championships but it is vital if you do want to compete. But, and believe me, I hate having to ask the question but I honestly am not certain about the answer to this question: are we genuinely solid at the back? Have we looked organised? Well drilled? I’m not sure of that. Maybe you are?
Some media-saturated people decide what they think the score should be, then compare what they see to that. Its like we are all journalists,educated reporters who just happen to ignore the reality. We’ve got to be honest. We’re not. This article is.
The odd thing is, we’ve been leaking goals for three seasons. So many people on about “attack wins you matches, defense wins you the title”. So we’re doing that and suddenly so many people are crying as if we’ve lost two times. We’re +5 on Spurs and Chelsea, +3 on Arsenal and the best is yet to come with Benteke gelling, Firmino, Coutinho and Can getting fitter and sharper and the return of He-who-must-not-be-named-yet.
Last season (and the years before) we’ve been lacking solidity at the back, steel in midfield and the ability to win ugly. Well, that seems to be solved huh? As much a football fan I am, I’ll take 38 gritty 1-0 wins.
“Another thing – why is it ok for Gomez not to have to attack but the same standard isn’t applied to Moreno? Why is it ok for Lovren to smash the ball 50 yards down the field but Sakho has to play football? Why is it ok to protect Lovren with a more defensive system/personnel but not ok to provide that same protection for Sakho? Why is it ok to play long to Benteke but it wasn’t ok to play long to Carroll or Balotelli? Different standards for different players – Rodgers’ men are given an easier role but it is hurting us collectively. Its hurting our performances and its only a matter of time before it hurts our results. But people don’t see these things or just ignore them.”
Was it just me or was it confusing the way all pre season Jordan ibe and clynn have been playing on the right hand side building a great understanding, while coutinho mainly on the left loves to cut in onto his right foot, however Rodgers decides to put coutinho out wide right and ibe left against bournmouth ?? this weakens coutinho as all he is doing is cutting in on his left foot ??? just wondering what peoples opinions on this were ???
A general point – can we keep things civil on here please? Bit sick of the troll-like behaviour of some now and the needless name-calling and so on. If you consistently do it, we’ll block you. Nice one.