Are Liverpool missing Pako?

This article is a submission for the Soccerlens Football Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here.

Written by Ali Jechi.

Liverpool might have all eyes on the Premier League this season, but does that mean they should playing in the champions league in the manner they have been lately? I really don’t think it’s a matter of the Premier League being their sole priority; they just aren’t playing well, Period. As one fan puts it, “we haven’t played well since we beat Derby”.

Now, as a Liverpool supporter I am inclined to support the club no matter how good or bad the performance and results, but as a supporter I’m also inclined the right to criticize and axe the players when they don’t give their expected best. After all, they are getting paid big just to please us fans. But Liverpool has been a different team lacking in creativity and fire power and becoming far too predictable lately. They simply are not up to scratch, giving the ball away so cheaply and lacking the passion that comes along with putting on the red shirt. Something is definitely not right, and Rafa should get to the end of it and sort it out before it’s too late.

I checked out the message boards on the official Liverpool site ( and saw some interesting raised questions. One topic stated: “How much are we missing Xabi?” Now no one can deny how instrumental Alonso, with his slick passing and fluidity, has been to Liverpool in previous seasons. But that was before the arrival of Argentinean international Javier Mascherano, who has been on many occasions favored in the middle of the park alongside none other than Captain Steven Gerrard. Of course every game has a different approach to it and I’m not stating that Mascherano is any better than Alonso; I’m just making a point that we do have a qualified replacement, should Xabi get injured, as is the case now.

Is the reason for poor results then due to the Daniel Agger’s injury that put on hold a great partnership with Carragher, bringing back long but aging servant Sami Hyypia into the foray? Again, I believe the answer to be NO, for if injuries were to be used as an alibi for poor results, then only keeper Pepe Reina gets my vote (God forbid).

Rafael Benitez is today considered one of world’s best known and successful managers thanks to his European campaign results. But could the master plan that beat off the likes of Juventus, Chelsea, AC Milan and Barcelona all have come from one brain? Or was there more to Rafa Benitez than buying his wife a watch whenever he wins a final? Was his success depending on how much transfer money he received? But then we have to remember that he did win the Champions League with a more-or-less average squad in his debut season.

The way I see it then, is that Liverpool has been going downhill in terms of performance since Rafa’s right hand man, Pako, chose to leave the club. Again the same sentence rings in my mind, “we haven’t played well since we beat Derby” Is it a case of players believing the hype that was spouted after that game? Is overconfidence going to make us struggle to get results? Or are we missing something since Pako left?

Something just isn’t right, and I hope Rafa admits his wrong-doing and brings back his long-term side kick on board, whom it has becoming blatantly obvious he can’t do without, and hopefully then we shall see Liverpool FC flying sky high in every competition.

This article is a submission for the Soccerlens Football Writing Competition; to participate, please read the details here.

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