It goes something like this:
- Manager makes stupid signings.
- Manager cant get his players to play like a team.
- Manager keeps rotating his squad until they’re so bad they can’t play at all.
- Manager gets unlucky with injuries.
- Manager lays all the blame on the opposition team.
Apart from the first and third point, this might be Arsenal and not Liverpool that we’re talking about. Having said that, Arsenal at least have the dubious honour of being in a ‘transitional’ stage – Liverpool have been in transition for over a decade, and they’re still stuck on fantasy island.
Tipped as this season’s main challengers to Chelsea (and title favourites by some over-enthusiastic pundits), Liverpool have failed to make ‘anything’ go their way. They have been very unlucky with injuries – with 3 midfielders wiped out by injuries so far – but the real problem for Liverpool isn’t
I’m not in favour of knee-jerk reactions, so sacking Benitez is not the answer. He’s a cautious coach, more Mourinho than Ferguson. You don’t expect Liverpool to come away thumping opponenets 4-0.
But the trouble with teams is that once you lose penetration – you’ve got nothing to fall back on.
Liverpool can’t break teams down, but unlike Arsenal their game off-the-ball is scrappy and shoddy, so the moment they have trouble scoring they’re effectively out of the game, and in this case the title race as well.
An attack comprised of Crouch, Kuyt, Bellamy and Fowler looks good on paper (and for my money Bellamy is still a fantastic buy if he starts playing regularly) but that’s not a title-winning attack. Kuyt will improve, but Fowler is worse than Solskjaer and Bellany and Crouch haven’t been given enough time on the pitch.
I realise that a coach can’t always change his nature – thus Liverpool under Benitez will continue to be cautious and plodding and methodical. The problem is, they lack the ruthlessness necessary to succeed in the Premiership.
Benitez will improve, but he will have to improve Liverpool massively to have any chance at the title. Till then, and till Liverpool are bought and financed, Liverpool will fight Arsenal, Tottenham, Bolton, Portsmouth, Aston Villa and possibly Everton for the 2 remaining Champions League spots.