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Holding ourselves to account


Chewie

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As supporters we do a lot of holding others to account for what they do on and off the pitch. Players, managers, owners get evaluated, but by what standard, and why does it seem to shift so easily. This season I think we've been guilty of not holding ourselves to account for the standards we once held to be appropriate for this football club. Now, don't get me wrong, this is not about saying 'but simply because we are Liverpool we should be winning the league'. Plenty of clubs who were once at the top of the pyramid are now languishing in the Championship or below. We have no right to success, but we have no right to justify, with alarming ease, what is nothing short that a tectonic movement in the aspirations of this football club.

 

Going into 2011-12 we had expectations raised by the return of Kenny to the sidelines and a 3 year contract. A lot of us not only hoped, but reasoned, that given Kenny's track record over his career, the results during his caretaker months, a more experienced Suarez and a fitter Carroll, that we could be on target for a CL attaining 70 pts. If we got more than this, fine. If less, then the season needed to be judged accordingly. What happened? Well, these things have to be taken in sequence because momentum plays a huge part in football.. the pattern, as it appeared to me, was this:

 

- a really solid start, followed by some mixed results, but on the whole very organised defensively and hamstrung by an awful chance to conversion ration. We battered some teams and did not get the result we deserved. We played as well in the first 2-3 months of last season as in the first 1-2 months of this (will come back to this)

- Lucas injury followed by the entire mis-management of the Suarez affair led to a more turbulent middle section (Dec-Feb)

- in the middle of this time we put a focus together on being a cup team and won a trophy, the first in 5 seasons

- in the aftermath of the cup, and being decimated by injuries, reeling from the Suarez stuff, we had some bad results. Question marks over Comolli and Kenny led to one sacking. One poor result led to another as confidence eroded. In the last 3 months we saw any real semblance of pattern, formation, direction, dissipate in front of our eyes (it is this we remember the most when benchmarking style now -v- style 'under Kenny).

- notwithstanding this we had another trip to Wembley, saw the emergence of Carroll as a bit of a beast, and we got to the end of the season knowing questions needed to be asked and answered.

 

On balance the decision was taken to part ways with Kenny. It was a truly sad moment. the man remains a living legend, and the past few weeks of the Justice campaign and the release of the docs should engrain, if ever it were needed, just how iconic that man is to this football club. For better or worse though that decision was made and that decision had consequences.

 

the first of these was financial. The cost of replacing management teams is huge, and has had a significant impact on our overall budget.

 

the second was expectations. Upon parting ways with Kenny we were justified in expecting the following:

 

1. There was a bounce in the points return of the players already at the club. Under fresh management that team had another 12-14 points in it alone. Woodwork and penalties followed by the momentum that good results brings along would be a difference.

2. Any new manager coming in needed to get at least as much as Kenny in the league, otherwise, why change. Furthermore, this has to be the aim now, not 2 years from now.

3. the team had suffered from under investment from 2008 onwards leaving it unbalanced, but nonetheless was not filled with atrocious players.

4. FSG seemed really intent on a management structure that would ensure continuity at the club regardless of who was the first team 'coach'. This seemed wise.

5. In Borrell and Segura we had a great team in the background

 

In summary I was fully expecting a really well put together management structure with a good coach / manager at the helm of the first team. I further expected the minimum target to be a bounce of 12-14 points on last season.

 

What I was not expecting, and yet what we all seem to have come to rationalise and justify, is any of the following:

 

1. That we were at such a low ebb in our history that we needed rebuilding and finishing 7-8th would be ok as long as we played well..

2. That the whole management structure of the club - first team, medical, reserves etc.. would be organised around a new boss with no CEO / DOF / Chief Technical oversight. For a group like FSG who seek to minimise risk through the use of stats and shrewd management this is the most riskiest of all the possible outcomes. If this does not work out the whole infrastructure needs changed again

3. That we would be convincing ourselves that playing well and losing was a sign of progress. Last year we played well and got a lot of draws. In many years we have witnessed plucky teams who 'play football the right way' and 'who are good to watch', yet who end up going down. It is actually quite easy to play football in this league. Hull managed it. Blackpool managed it. The aim though is to win football games, and winning those tends to help you play well.

4. That a team supposedly at our stage of progress could honestly have debates about the merits of 'false no. 9s' Seriously, it has taken Barca and Spain many years of winning top flight games to develop players and systems capable of this level of dominance.

5. that we would be so stunningly stupid as to allow Carroll to leave without having a signature on paper as a replacement. Further, that we would throw his price tag back in his face by alluding to being able to expect a £35million striker to play in any system, when we are on record as saying his price tag is meaningless, it was a basic in-out transaction adjusted for whatever figure we got for Torres

 

I think we have not held ourselves to account, and in so doing could be perilously close to being played for fools. I'm not saying this is what Rodgers is trying to do, but I would fall short of exonerating FSG in this.

 

I like Rodgers, I think it's great to see the kids playing. I think we play some nice attractive football. I think he has bought an excellent player in Allen, but as yet does not know what to do with Borini, the player he said would get goals. I think he's been handed a thankless job in colluding with the Fox documentary, and I think he genuinely wants to be very successful here.

 

I don't however, think we were as bad as he needs us to believe we were.

 

I don't think this season can be just let go by as a period in transition.

 

i think the players he had at his disposal in coming to the club needed adjusting but as a collective unit with one or two additions could have been capable of 70 points

 

I don't think we have 1-2 seasons to play with. The longer we are in the 6-8 position in the league the harder it will be to ever get in the sort of forward who can score the goals we need.

 

The stadium issue remains unresolved. There is a significant question mark on the willingness of the owners to back the manager in the transfer market. And there remains no significant management of the club from a footballing perspective, other than that brought by Rodgers himself.

 

Absolutely none of this would have been anticipated or justified in May. Not one bit of it, and not at the expense of losing Kenny.

 

Yet drift we have. And justify we have. And reason we have. And at times it sounds clever, and insightful, and perhaps allows us to think we're the only ones who can really see something happening... but at the end of the day, it's a simple game. And in that simple game results matter. there are no games that can be sacrificed. Only the very best can pick and choose, and yet they seem to end up playing in all the big games at the end of the season. No matter what they pick, they seem to choose right. It is getting harder to come on here when you read posters saying they've never been as content as they have in recent times walking away from Anfield having been beaten. Beaten. Or after another disappointing home result to see the fumbling for excuses and scapegoats, usually fringe substitutes who were barely on long enough to make any difference. This is not us. This can't be us. This is still Liverpool, isn't it? Are we actually the ones who are guilty of betraying what this club is all about? Have we colluded with the lowering of expectations?

 

For as long as Brendan Rodgers is manager of Liverpool Football Club I shall hope for nothing less than the very best for him and the team. Unequivocal. But playing football the 'brendan rodgers way' or adhering to his ethos, is not going to make me lower my expectations on what this club should be aiming for this season. In May, things changed. In my mind they have to be better on the pitch both in terms of playing and results... and we need to hold this team, owners and players to account. Unless of course, we change our minds... maybe we don't need to win after all...

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I can see us finishing bottom half. FSG messed up in a big way last summer

Do you mean by sacking Kenny/appointing Rodgers or by not giving Rodgers more cash?

 

FWIW, I'm also concerned about the way our expectations have been managed downwards in the last few months.

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On my phone it took me a full eight thumb swipes to get to the bottom of that post.

 

:yes: hence the name!

 

 

FWIW, I'm also concerned about the way our expectations have been managed downwards in the last few months.

 

who's doing the managing, though? A surprising number of supporters (on here at least) seem to be content so long as they approve of the 'philosophy' and/or one of the players has an impressive pass completion rate

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with apologies to Swipe's thumb :thumbs:

 

and taking Molby at face value...

 

1. As supporters (be it through SOS or another medium) we need to represent to the Board that we are not fickle and do not bend with the wind. With that in mind we should question

 

a) the vision of the management structure and why, having said we were still committed to a DOF after comolli's departure, and then to a Management team after Kenny's departure, we jettisoned this in favour for a first team manager who makes all the staffing decisions at the club. We need to query the cost of this and the management of risk in this.

b) transfer dealings and the club's policy - specifically how the supposed offering of Henderson in a swap deal flies completely in the face of buying young players who retain value, and further, who made the decisions on the Carroll loan and the failure to properly replace him

c) Why is there no-one from FSG working in Liverpool

d) That the managerial replacement was supposedly founded on a failure to make CL football and this remains the expectation of fans, otherwise change is not justifiable

e) the stadium issue - what is happening...

 

2. Might we not also lobby for the return of Carroll in January, admitting that his presence strengthens the squad, not weakens it

 

3. We should stop justifying defeats and whole-sale changes in the direction of our club. We did the latter all summer, moving all the goalposts until we ended up with a manager who has no genuine track record as a manager with top players. (Again, I want to support Brendan..but our interpretation of what was acceptable shifted so much it was mind boggling). We anticipated a 12 point bounce with what we had last season. I see no reason for accepting that we may not get this bounce and indeed we may be worse...

 

4. We should continue to show 100% match day support to everyone connected with the club

 

given that 1 had a few points I'll leave it at that.. but supporter representation on expectations and questioning strategy would at the very least get us thinking sharper and staying focused..

 

Smithdown...realistic from now. I'm sticking with my 70 points, simply because it is a 38 game season and I hope the narrative is one of improvement, not decline. Any team that has Agger, Skrtl, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen (the welsh Xavi), Sahin (standout player in the Bundesliga), and Suarez in it has a spine to win 20 games, and hopefully enough draws for the rest...

 

John.. I agree, too much contentment with moral victories and pass completion rates.. whilst not being so trite as to ignore the long term trajectory of good possession rates on success (though Cruyf on 5 Live on Friday was very interesting on possession.. he said it was all about making the possession go forward and as early as possible)

Edited by Chewie
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John.. I agree, too much contentment with moral victories and pass completion rates.. whilst not being so trite as to ignore the long term trajectory of good possession rates on success (though Cruyf on 5 Live on Friday was very interesting on possession.. he said it was all about making the possession go forward and as early as possible)

 

has anyone ever established that a high possession rate is a cause rather than a symptom of success?

 

While it seems clear that retaining possession of the ball is a good way to stop the other team from scoring (and thereby defend the lead) it's far less obvious that favouring possession over the kind of risk-taking that's likely to create a scoring chance is a good plan. Quite likely the opposite, i reckon

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with apologies to Swipe's thumb :thumbs:

 

and taking Molby at face value...

 

1. As supporters (be it through SOS or another medium) we need to represent to the Board that we are not fickle and do not bend with the wind. With that in mind we should question

 

a) the vision of the management structure and why, having said we were still committed to a DOF after comolli's departure, and then to a Management team after Kenny's departure, we jettisoned this in favour for a first team manager who makes all the staffing decisions at the club. We need to query the cost of this and the management of risk in this.

b) transfer dealings and the club's policy - specifically how the supposed offering of Henderson in a swap deal flies completely in the face of buying young players who retain value, and further, who made the decisions on the Carroll loan and the failure to properly replace him

c) Why is there no-one from FSG working in Liverpool

d) That the managerial replacement was supposedly founded on a failure to make CL football and this remains the expectation of fans, otherwise change is not justifiable

e) the stadium issue - what is happening...

 

2. Might we not also lobby for the return of Carroll in January, admitting that his presence strengthens the squad, not weakens it

 

3. We should stop justifying defeats and whole-sale changes in the direction of our club. We did the latter all summer, moving all the goalposts until we ended up with a manager who has no genuine track record as a manager with top players. (Again, I want to support Brendan..but our interpretation of what was acceptable shifted so much it was mind boggling). We anticipated a 12 point bounce with what we had last season. I see no reason for accepting that we may not get this bounce and indeed we may be worse...

 

4. We should continue to show 100% match day support to everyone connected with the club

 

given that 1 had a few points I'll leave it at that.. but supporter representation on expectations and questioning strategy would at the very least get us thinking sharper and staying focused..

 

Smithdown...realistic from now. I'm sticking with my 70 points, simply because it is a 38 game season and I hope the narrative is one of improvement, not decline. Any team that has Agger, Skrtl, Johnson, Gerrard, Allen (the welsh Xavi), Sahin (standout player in the Bundesliga), and Suarez in it has a spine to win 20 games, and hopefully enough draws for the rest...

 

John.. I agree, too much contentment with moral victories and pass completion rates.. whilst not being so trite as to ignore the long term trajectory of good possession rates on success (though Cruyf on 5 Live on Friday was very interesting on possession.. he said it was all about making the possession go forward and as early as possible)

 

a heavyweight CEO, based in Liverpool is absolutely pivotal to all our ambitions and I would concentrate on that. Without this we will only ever be a cup team. There is some maths needed to connect these two statements but I trust that after decades of board room mismanagement, everyone can do the maths in their heads

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a heavyweight CEO, based in Liverpool is absolutely pivotal to all our ambitions and I would concentrate on that. Without this we will only ever be a cup team. There is some maths needed to connect these two statements but I trust that after decades of board room mismanagement, everyone can do the maths in their heads

With autonomous decision making and not answerable to Boston.

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Chewie old boy, there's 31 games left now so sixty four points from those is more than two a game. Twenty wins, four draws and seven losses...actually doesn't sound so bad, but will have to be stared at for a long long time to make sense should we fail to beat Reading, so while we don't wish to be fickle it's pretty difficult in practice to avoid what looks like kneejerk reactions at this stage of the season.

 

Also, I think 70 points in Rodgers first season, anyone's first season, would be a superb achievement - more than just satisfactory - even with boss backing in the transfer market and no signicant f*ck-ups like loaning out the centre forward, so I'm looking at a minimum target rather than a maximum and I think the only fair way to judge the thing is to compare the points tally to the bloke who got replaced. We're behind that now, if we're needing snookers to reach it we'll be fighting to stay in the division so there'll be enough unrest to share round for everyone if that's where we are at in a few weeks.

 

Beat Reading, as a team and as a club, and then we'll see.

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Chewie old boy, there's 31 games left now so sixty four points from those is more than two a game. Twenty wins, four draws and seven losses...actually doesn't sound so bad,

 

 

31 games to get 64 points = 78point season form

 

 

seems pretty unlikely

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Looking back now I seriously think FSG should have either given Kenny more time or gone for a manager with more experience. They made a play for two of the "new breed" managers in Martinez and Rodgers. One who barely kept his side in the top flight and one who did particularly well for his first season. However, he had one season and was unproven at this level. If we liked him so much we should have given him another year to prove himself and kept Kenny in place for stability. Other than that we should have been looking for proven managers capable of winning things or producing results at this level. Rafa was an obvious choice as was Harry Redknapp a couple of weeks after we gave Rodgers the job. Both I feel would not have been a work in progress for too long and would get us results. I like Rodgers and I truly wish him the best, but the whole "Brendan Rodgers way" right now is a project that could go either way. He could bring a style of football we could grow to love but just as equally he can become the next David O'Leary or Alan Curbishly.The owners had a big decision to make in the summer and I am not sure thery realized that bringing in a new man with potential was going to be such a gamble. We need results more than we need a particular style of play right now and I hope Rodgers and his staff are capable of getting those results.

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2. Might we not also lobby for the return of Carroll in January, admitting that his presence strengthens the squad, not weakens it

 

 

Come off it, that's ridiculous.

 

has anyone ever established that a high possession rate is a cause rather than a symptom of success?

 

Exactly.

 

Post hoc, ergo propter hoc.

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We've been on the slide for far too long and Rodgers' appointment, with his style of play and support staff, is a new broom. FSG are no mugs. They've basically started from scratch and none of us should expect anything spectacular for at least a season.

 

We're not going to win anything of real note this season, so we should just get fully behind Rodgers, hope for better results as the players get used to the new system, and sod everyone else.

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We've been on the slide for far too long and Rodgers' appointment, with his style of play and support staff, is a new broom. FSG are no mugs. They've basically started from scratch and none of us should expect anything spectacular for at least a season.

 

We're not going to win anything of real note this season, so we should just get fully behind Rodgers, hope for better results as the players get used to the new system, and sod everyone else.

 

no CEO no party

and also, all the cups are winnable and they are of note

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Beaten. Or after another disappointing home result to see the fumbling for excuses and scapegoats, usually fringe substitutes who were barely on long enough to make any difference. This is not us. This can't be us. This is still Liverpool, isn't it? Are we actually the ones who are guilty of betraying what this club is all about? Have we colluded with the lowering of expectations?

 

I want to see a decent squad by the end of the season.

 

One that can push and pull teams around the pitch. We saw that against West Brom the other night. We saw some of it against ManU and City. We haven't had a decent team since 2008/9. I think we've got the makings of an outstanding squad.

 

Besides, this youth set up has consistantly been invested in for a few years, even through G&H, with some top (if not the best in their business) youth coaches along with plenty of signings we've beaten other top clubs for. Now we're starting to see some rewards.

 

Take the wages off the books for a year, we'll have some money for a summer warchest, adding top players for a few key positions and dumping the remaining leaches.

 

I think this is going to be one of the most interesting seasons we've had for a long time.

Edited by redsalmon
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The way FSG have run the club so far suggests they very much are mugs, when it comes to football. It's been amateur hour, make it up as you go along, rubbish, that David Moores would have been proud of. They've been poor owners so far.

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I think we are okay, in fact I think we've made a hell of a lot more progress than I'd imagine we would make when Rodgers was first appointed. The results have not reflected the performances, the passing is crisp, the movement has been positive, but the finishing is the big worry. The manager is young intelligent and ambitious and there is a distinct lack of compromise in his attitude which could go either way, but I think he is bullet proof as far as FSG are concerned for at least for a couple of seasons.

 

If the striking concerns and one or two issues in defence can be addressed, there is a platform there for a very bright future.

Edited by Rocheteau
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We've been on the slide for far too long and Rodgers' appointment, with his style of play and support staff, is a new broom. FSG are no mugs. They've basically started from scratch and none of us should expect anything spectacular for at least a season.

 

We're not going to win anything of real note this season, so we should just get fully behind Rodgers, hope for better results as the players get used to the new system, and sod everyone else.

 

not this

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Do you mean by sacking Kenny/appointing Rodgers or by not giving Rodgers more cash?

 

FWIW, I'm also concerned about the way our expectations have been managed downwards in the last few months.

 

Both

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