Friday, December 27, 2013

Genuine contender, I believe this will be the year

Brendan Rodgers and his chargers lost narrowly at the Etihad last night. A win is always good but watching how the man in reds performed left a true belief in me that we will finish among the top 4 this season. 

When Rodgers came in, I told myself that we've got a new man managing Liverpool now. I will give him 3 years before I can see Liverpool start to challenge for a place in the Champions League and 5 years before Liverpool can start to challenge for the league title. 

Well, I am not the one who will decide Brendan's fate; I only wish that I have the power to do that. 

After 18 games with 36 points gained I'd say Brendan Rodgers has done a tremendous job thus far. How we have battered teams this season and how Anfield is becoming a fortress again, I'd say that Brendan will achieve the target that I have set (which this does not really matter anyway) earlier than suggested. Not only that we will finish the league in style, we might win it too!

First and foremost, let’s not get carried away. The main target is still to finish within the top 4 and to qualify for Champions League. But looking at the situation where Liverpool does not have any European fixtures this season and the focus is only on the league and maybe the FA Cup. Winning the league is not impossible. The likes of City, United, Chelsea and Arsenal, they still have CL fixtures, League cup & FA Cup. 

Besides that, Brendan has turned the team to play a very attractive attacking football and the results support that. Yes, the squad is not as thick as the other top teams but Brendan also has somehow managed to establish the 'togetherness' within the team. This is important. Yes, players like Christiano Ronaldo, Messi, Van Persie and many others can carry their team to success. Liverpool does not have that luxury, due to the lack of Champions League football; top players do not want to come to Liverpool. But how we get them to join us if we do not qualify for CL? How do we qualify without these so called top players

We are lucky, we have Steven Gerrard, one of the top football players in the world and we also have Luis Suarez. What about the other players? Lucas Leiva, Henderson, Raheem Sterling, Danny Agger. They are good players, but they are not wonderful players. Well we do have Coutinho, but I strongly believe that he is not the finished article yet. 

What Brendan did is to mold them into a team. Build a team that has a strong resistance and strong will to win. A squad that is thin in experience and quality can be backed up by strong will and determination. 

The game against City last night strongly proves my view! We played well, should have at least earned a point but we lost. With the injuries that we have, we went in with only Suarez who can be called 'World Class'. But with the work ethics shown by the rest of the players, Liverpoool is "World Class". Raheem had a goal wrongly dis-allowed and towards the end he had another opportunity which he did not score. But just imagined what will happen if Gerrard & Sturridge played. It could have been another story!

Their efforts can never be questioned, but it's their experienced that caused the slip-ups. This can only be rectified if we keep on playing like we are playing now and keep on learning and keeping the heads on the ground. 

This is why I strongly believe that we can be in the top 4 and I would not be surprised if we even managed to win the league! Arsenal, City, Chelsea & Spurs will have to come to Anfield. With the way we are playing now, that is 12 points in hand! And with Rodgers around, I would say, Liverpool will get stronger when we enter 2014! 

Next is the Bridge ... well c'mon you Red men! This year we will fight till the end! YNWA

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Brendan is the man

Liverpool FC – a big club with a big history behind them. 18 times as English Champions and 5 times European Champions does not really reflect on their current status.

They have been struggling in the league and have not qualified for the Champions League for a while but why everyone is still talking about them?

It’s because of their successful History and nothing more.

Brendan Rodgers are now have been given the mandate by the owners to emulate the previous successful managers. He surely has a big task to bring Liverpool FC back to their glory days. As fans around the world, old and young have been deprived from successful stories or achievement from such a great team. We no longer want to listen to what Liverpool FC had achieved. We want to see, experience and celebrate the new success of Liverpool FC.

The question now, can Brendan successfully guide Liverpool back to the top? Will he be the right man? Can he stand the pressure of being the Manger for Liverpool FC?

I’m a huge fan of Kenny Dalglish. I grew up watching Liverpool dominated the English league and Europe. Kenny was the manager then. Rush, Barnes, Beardsley were my heroes. Then after 1990, Liverpool never had the same impact. We struggled. I still continued to support LFC. McManaman, Fowler, Owen were my heroes.

2005 was another story. We won the Champions League for the 5th time and a couple of seasons later we nearly won the 19th league title. It was great but we never really get there and the team just simply lost their momentum.

When Kenny came back I dreamt that maybe he can instantly guide Liverpool back to the top. But that was not the case. Yes, he was supposed to know how Alex Ferguson thinks. After all, he was used to beat Sir Alex back then. But he was gone for far too long. Furthermore, the situation was never the same. There were the likes of Chelsea, City, Arsenal and Spurs. It was never easy for Dalglish.

Coming back to Brendan Rodgers, I had doubts. But after 1 full season I can say he is the right man. He’s young, he’s ambitious, he has the knowledge maybe not the experience yet but he will learn and grow together with the team. With one condition though, as long as he gets the support from the owners too.

He got rid of the dead wood and brought in new young and interesting players. Well an exception for Kolo Toure but a free transfer and impressive resume behind him, I’d say Kolo is a good addition.

The other challenge for Brendan now is to convince good players out there to come to Liverpool. Any player that he thinks that is suitable to be there I’m sure he will go for it. The only hurdle is Liverpool does not have European football.

It’s difficult to get big players to come to Liverpool because big players will want to play in big competitions.

Plan B has to be executed. He needs to get potential young players and groom them. It will take a while, but once everything is in place these players will lead Liverpool FC back to the top.

We need to forget or hope that Liverpool will have players like Messi or Neymar. We can’t even convince players like Huntelaar or maybe Willian. I think what Rodgers is looking at players, good players who are willing to fight for Liverpool. Sturridge and Coutinho are two good examples and we also have the like of Agger and Lucas; the existing players that I think will be with us for a long time.

The advantage of other teams against us is that they are way above us in terms of league position and maybe money. But Brendan can still build success without these two factors. Basically we have time in our side. If we are patience enough our league standing will improve. And once we improve that the money will also come in.

I’m sure we do not have to wait that long before we see Liverpool back to where they were.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

This Is the Time for Rodgers

Liverpool FC kicked off season 2013/14 with a win at home turf and I’d say it’s a very good start. The score could have been more but Stoke’s keeper did make some very good saves.

It is important for LFC to start with a win as this will be a trigger for a better performance in the next game. I’m aware that LFC is in a ‘rebuilding’ process under Rodgers but we can’t wait too long to see some desired results that we as fans have been dreaming to see.

It has been 3 or 4 seasons now since we last finished within the top 4 bracket and that is long enough.  I am not saying that we need to win the league this year but I just want to see LFC to be more consistent and maybe qualify for the Champions League by the end of the season.

We have fallen far behind against teams like Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea. We even struggled against teams like Spurs, Everton, Villa or Swansea. These are mid-table teams and for the time being we belonged there.

We finished quite well last season and I see that Brendan Rodgers is trying to get the players back to the same level before they had their summer holidays. Based on the pre-season and yesterday’s game, I’d say Rodgers and the team are doing the right thing.

The new players seemed to blend in pretty well. Mignolet, Toure and Aspas had their Anfield league debut and we still have Alberto that’s yet to make his league debut. Aside from Toure, a Barclays Premier League veteran, the other three are still young. They can still be developed and molded to be a Liverpool player. With the likes of Sterling, Lucas, Agger, Henderson and a few more, we sure can be a force to be reckon with.

Rodgers is trying to build a team with a Champions mentality. They need to know how to win or how not to lose or how to play ugly when necessary. And what a good way when they learn this early, exposed to this kind of mentality at a young age so that this will be they ‘way of life’.

Teams like Chelsea, United or Arsenal have this winning mentality. Even when they are not playing well, they always managed to grind their way through and get a win in every game. This is what Rodgers is trying to build at Liverpool FC.

Another interesting thing that I find is how Rodgers has managed to get rid of the fringe players with high salaries. This will somehow create a new competitive environment within the squad as now there will be no more unhappy rich players on the bench. The players will have to show to the gaffer their capability if they want to be selected week-in week-out. If they are consistent throughout the season I’m sure they will be rewarded with a new contract (meaning a better pay) if the manager feels it’s necessary.
Now we’ve got the first win and a clean sheet too! Next will be Villa away and it will be another test to the players. Can they grow better? And Villa will be no pushover. They beat Arsenal handsomely and if we can beat them it will be a good tonic before we face the champions United on the 1st

Monday, May 27, 2013

Rodgers's first season - the verdict

There's so many things that we can say about Brendan Rodgers's first season as Liverpool FC's manager. I am not a 'football expert', just a normal fan that is in love with Liverpool Football Club. So my thoughts are merely for my own and I won't say that whatever is right is always right or whatever that is wrong is wrong.
But I won't deny that some of it are shared by other fans and some of it may not be agreed by others.

This season, after 38 league games with 16 wins, 13 draws and 9 losses, we finished 7th with 61 points. 71 goals were scored and 43 was on our own net. We were 12 points off the Champions League place and we finished just 2 points behind fellow neighbor Everton.

Now we can compare to the previous season, 38 games, 14 wins, 10 draws and 14 losses. 47 goals were scored and 40 goals were against. We finished 8th with the total of 52 points where we were 17 points off the 4th place which was occupied by Spurs. 

Based on this numbers alone, I'd say that Brendan had a good start as the Liverpool manager. We scored more goals, a difference of 24 goals more. Defensively, we leaked more goals than last season but the points we gained are 9 points more compared to last season. 

We can't say Brendan is better than Kenny. Kenny will always be Kenny Dalglish. Liverpool's cult hero and a legend. A 'Sir' to my humble opinion. Kenny had different personnel compared to Brendan. Kenny came in when Liverpool was a sinking ship while Rodgers had a team that was quite stable - inside and outside the Football club itself. 

Rodgers finished 1 place higher than King Kenny but the latter brought 1 cup back to Anfield. 

The fact that King Kenny had not any active involvement in any club level management for more than 20 years, I'd say he'd done a great job!!! Even Martinez could not save Wigan from relegation, same goes to Harry Redknapp. King Kenny managed to get Liverpool FC finished top 10 with the problems that we had at the club.

Looking back at Rodgers, he had to work with 1 proven striker in Suarez for the 1st half of the campaign. He also had to throw in young players into the first team. In the long run, this will do good to him and the team. We improved further when Sturridge and Coutinho came in. Plus the team was playing much better. 

Everything was about adapting to a new method and style. We could see how the players improved as the season goes by. The mistakes was much lesser. Goals we conceded was not as careless as the earlier part of the season. 

The likes of Enrique, Downing and Henderson also tells us much about the improvement that has been made by the manager. Agger & Gerrard seemed fit and we were not worried about them getting injured in every game. Even our confidence on Pepe Reina grew stronger. Overall the team did improve. 

It's part and parcel of a learning process for Brendan and his men. I'm sure the players will grow stronger in the coming seasons (if LFC can keep them) and Brendan as a young manager will grow with them too. I believed that he gained so much and he is more ready to bring Liverpool closer to being great next season. I'm not saying that next season Liverpool will be the champions, but they can sure challenge. 

I'd say give Brendan 3 years before Liverpool can start challenging and 5 years before Liverpool can win anything. Any achievement that can happen before that will be a bonus. 

So for my final verdict I give Brendan two thumbs up! My hope that he can remain as the Liverpool boss as I do believe we have a good manager in the making. Maybe he will be the one to bring back Liverpool to the top! 



Friday, April 12, 2013

Forget Europe for next season, go for the league title!

Liverpool FC will play as the visiting team against Reading tonight in one of their last six league games of the season. Currently lying 7th, 7 pts adrift from the 5th place and 9 pts adrift from the Champions League spot. 

On paper, Liverpool should not face any problems to get 3 pts as Reading is placed last in the table. Consistency has been the Reds nemesis for a couple of seasons now and nothing will be certain until the whistle has been blown by the referee.

I want Liverpool to win and to get maximum points. But I am not thinking about qualifying for Europe next season. I just want Liverpool to finish strong, gain as many points and see where they end up once the season is over. 

A club like Liverpool with its history and honors, it's almost unthinkable that they will not play in Europe next season. Reality bites! 

Whether it is Champions League or the Europa League that means Liverpool will play with the top clubs all over Europe. For now, Liverpool FC is no longer the elite club in Europe. We are 7th in the league with 6 games to go shows that we can't be among the elite. 

Mathematically we still have a chance to qualify for Europe but let us not kid ourselves. This is young team with a young manager who will finish his 1st season soon. We have been saying this for so long, Liverpool is in the process of 're-building'. Make sure this time around that statement counts. 

Liverpool FC can't compete with the top clubs in Europe for now because they struggle to compete with the teams in the league. We showed tremendous performance against the teams above them but then falter against the lesser teams in the league. This is not a team that should be in Europe. They should be consistent. Consistent with their performance, consistent with the results; more wins than a draw or losing a game and consistent with their approach. That is why currently Liverpool is not among the top 4 teams in BPL.

It’s bitter to swallow but that's the hard fact. 

The signs are there, but Brendan Rodgers needs more time. Not playing in Europe next season might be a blessing in disguise. Rodgers can actually start to make plans from now. Their focus will obviously to concentrate on the league. Without Europe interfering, who knows maybe next season not only we qualify for Champions League we might win BPL too! 

23 years is a long time. No European Cup but a Championship title might be the x factor that LFC needs to get them back to where they were.