Was That The Merseyside Derby? Or Did I Tune In To A Sunday League Game?
Absolutely abysmal is probably putting it kindly but for Liverpool yesterday it was impossible to think of a positive word to say, unless of course your name is Roy Hodgson...
For a merseyside derby to be so lacking in passion from the red side was truly shocking. The poor performance would have at least had a silver lining if it looked as though the lads even gave a toss. The only player i personally felt deserved credit for yesterday was Steven Gerrard and as happens far too often, the pressure was piled on the captain to sort out the mess that the others had caused.
The starting line up to begin with made me feel some praise would be needed for Roy who appeared to have spotted his mistake and dropped Christian Poulsen, however i later found out that he was missing due to a family bereavement.
The rest of the side however, were more than capable of putting in a decent fight against Everton. More to the point, the sides fielded throughout our league campaign so far by Roy do not resemble a team sitting in 19th.
The excuses from many that it is solely down to the players performances, i just beg to differ. It's more than obvious that the side are under par at this moment in time but i've seen Liverpool sides a lot worse than yesterdays go out and put in a good 90minutes, in my eyes, the link up between players and manager is clearly not working.
Hodgson's tactics appear to still be a little too defensive, as we saw in his Fulham days (when he had to enforce that style of play) he seems to have brought it straight through and attempted to instill it into a Liverpool side who although under Rafa Benitez were sometimes defensive, were needing strength in attack yesterday and in several games gone by.
I find myself in a real difficult situation here with the whole current saga. Being a fan through the Houllier and Rafa days means i have never witnessed such a poor start, i've witnessed poorer sides but i've never witnessed such a dismal display in a merseyside derby and although i hate feeling as though i am fully against a manager, i am running out of patience and running out of praise. All i can bring myself to say about Hodgson at the moment is that he is a "nice man". Which i think we will all agree, is not going to make a brilliant Liverpool football manager.
Hodgson no doubt about it would be perfect for several other sides in the Premier League, but as i've said so many times now, he's not "Liverpool" it's clear he's not working and whether the side are up to scratch or not i can't see a quick progress route with him still at the helm.
The excuses of the side too baffle me because fair enough performances in Europe haven't been spectacular and some of the opposition have been poor but how can Roy manage to get the best out of a supposedly bad bunch in a 4-1 rout over Steaua Bucharest but then lose at home to Blackpool with barely a chance to shout about?
It's just not washing with me. I can see the players need to improve but i think in order to do so they need a different manager. For a starters Roy's constant praise of terrible performances is doing no one any good. And for Liverpool fans watching the press conferences, it's embarrassing.
Don't know about you but a footballer who thrives on constantly being told he's doing well is not a real footballer in my eyes. Footballers need constructive criticism, so in the next game they always have something to build on. This is just yet another reason why i feel Torres is under performing, there'll be no video playbacks and suggestions on how to turn the defender from Roy, there will just be sympathy and that is never what Fernando wants or needs.
As for the game, well for this report i shan't be talking about much, partly because i can't bring myself too but also because there wasn't much to mention anyway.
A poor start allowed Everton to capitalize on their early belief. The Blues came at us with determination just as a Liverpool side would usually do to their opposition. What Everton lacked in talent they made up for in effort and it paid off in the end.
As Liverpool struggled to even get near to Everton's 6 yard box, crunching tackles and strength from the likes of Yakubu and Distin left Liverpool spinning.
Everton punished just after the half hour mark when a nice ball in from Coleman was met by none other than Tim Cahill, a lovely finish high into the net, nothing much that Reina could do. His traditional celebration of punching the corner flag could have perhaps been put to better use by doing the rounds on the boys in red who stood back totally bemused as to why they had conceded.
Despite an utterly atrocious first half performance luckily Liverpool avoided any other first half damage and had chance to change their attitudes within half time.
The want and need was clear in the faces of Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher but when the captain can back up his passion with quality and talent unfortunately Carragher's stalwart approach was all he could offer being out of position at right back.
Maxi Rodriguez was looking ineffective on the wing. Gutting to say but Lucas who i always jump to support was having a bit of a poor game. Some flashes from Cole and Meireles were ok but less than acceptable and although the defence were not technically at fault for the first goal some worrying moments from the likes of Kyrgiakos did not help with the confidence levels watching second half.
Barely a chance to get a breather in the second half and Everton popped up with another goal from another fan favourite: Mikel Arteta. The shot from just outside the penalty area did well to make its way through a stream of red and blue shirts and was another nice goal for Moyes' boys.
Despite a rather desperate last gasp attempt (if you could call it that) in the dying minutes from Liverpool they didn't even get close to getting a consolation goal let alone one of those famous comebacks... Remember those?
Full credit to Everton as much as it hurts me to say so, they played well and fought hard.
Question is now, sitting in 19th with a rather poor excuse for a goal difference, where do we go now? What do we do?
With the uplifting news of the new ownership (worth mentioning that Henry & Werner probably had a horrid time yesterday, so well done for the welcoming present) we now have at least one aspect sorted.
The next issues are clearly to strengthen the squad and look at the managerial position.
As mentioned earlier, from never experiencing this i don't know how long we give Roy (even if we give him any longer). Some people still fully backing him say give him a chance to steady the ship but in comparison to when i always used to say give Benitez more time, Benitez never even got close to having this much of a bad start and as much of a Rafa backer i was i can't say that himself, Mourinho, Hodgson or even Shankly himself would ever be safe from my target after such a poor start.
It's just not acceptable, i can't sit back and hope when there is nothing to hope for anyway. We all started the season knowing it was quite possible we may even finish outside of 7th but we were all beginning to come to terms with that, as long as we finished in the top half and kept key players, that would have been fine.
However as we sit in 19th and stare up at teams like Everton, Wigan, Blackpool and West Bromwich Albion, the brutal reality is that these new owners are going to have to put a stamp on the club immediately, although the actions may come across as cruel and untimely, i'm afraid to say i think it's time for Roy to go, before it's too late.
Here's hoping Liverpool can pull something out of the bag against Blackburn, although i can't personally see it. As the camera will surely be panning to and from the new owners in the directors boxes my eyes will no doubt continue to draw to the man sitting with them.
We all know him, we've all witnessed his magic on the field and we've all seen his footballing knowledge displayed in a managerial position. He's the only man if i am honest i feel we could appoint, he's the only man that even if somehow things did get worse would surely not be slated for trying, therefore realistically i feel he is our only move.
Our next step?...