Article courtesy of the excellent Live4Liverpool website
What, above all, strikes me is the accuracy of the phrase ‘mid-table’ as it currently stands. Six points behind the Champions’ League Places, Five above the relegation zone. Few Liverpool supporters would openly admit it, but that represents six very good weeks for the new regime and for Roy Hodgson and his men. It was a mere 39 days ago that Everton quite frankly dismantled the Reds in a very one sided Merseyside Derby, leaving them marooned firmly in the bottom three.
Of course, the pessimists will point to Wigan and particularly Stoke as dropped points and poor performances, but six league games have seen four wins, including two against sides in the top five, signs that things are going in the right direction.
I have been very interested to see the criticism being thrown in the direction of Roy Hodgson, particularly as much of it would appear to come from internet and media forums, as opposed to those supporters inside Anfield on match day itself. It is not my place to decide on Hodgson’s future, although I will openly admit that I do not think that he is the appropriate manager to rebuild the club.
However, I do believe that he has the right to more respect than that afforded by some of the derisory and derogatory comments that I have noticed on various sites. In fact, anyone deserves more respect than some of the vitriol that has been aimed from certain quarters at the Liverpool manager.
Liverpool supporters need to be absolutely honest about where the club is right now. That status is as a former giant brought to its knees and rocked to its very foundations by the previous regime, and with a playing squad boasting some enviable talent but lacking in depth.
Bolton, Stoke and Sunderland apart, Liverpool are finally very much on the periphery of the battle that supporters expect them to be fighting this season, and that is competing with Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur for the final Champions’ League place.
In this respect, Sunday afternoon’s clash at White Hart Lane becomes Liverpool’s most important game of the season. Defeat is not an option as it would leave the Merseyside club some six points behind Spurs, and potentially nine points behind the top four. A draw would be no disaster, whilst a win would be a real confidence boost.
There are no reasons why Liverpool should not head to North London with confidence. Although they have lost on their last two visits to the Lane, it has historically been a good ground for the Reds. Spurs have notoriously struggled this season after midweek European fixtures, and Liverpool should be brimful of confidence after last week’s victory, albeit against a very poor West Ham. Whilst the loss of Steven Gerrard is an undoubted blow, it has afforded Raul Meireles with an opportunity to play in a more natural position, in which he seemed to thrive last weekend. In addition, Fernando Torres is looking more like himself with every passing week.
This does bring me to a real area of concern with regard to Roy Hodgson, and those are his terribly negative tactics away from home. I understand that he might wish to employ a 4-2-3-1 counter attacking formation, but even counter strategies work only if you get enough bodies forward to support the lone front man. Torres has, at times, been woefully isolated away from Anfield, and this will have to be remedied if Liverpool are to have any success. Such is the gap behind the deep midfield and the front man, that possession is consistently ceded.
I, like many others, grew up in a period when Liverpool Football Club dominated British and European football. It gives me absolutely no pleasure to speak about Liverpool in peripheral battles and fighting to rise from mid-table obscurity. However, that is the reality of things right now. There is talent in the squad, if not depth, and certainly Mr Hodgson needs to be more demanding of them.
They said that Rome wasn’t built in a day, yet Liverpool Football Club conquered it twice. Liverpool Football Club was certainly not built in a day, but two utterly despicable men brought it to its knees. Time is an enemy in modern life, but time is exactly what will be required to rebuild this club from its foundations. For now, Liverpool supporters should be grateful to have banished the Texans to the past, and to be climbing what is a very tight Premier League table.