“Would Franz Beckenbauer seek to console Bayern supporters by suggesting they need not worry about an injection of new blood in the January transfer window, because he retained the absolute faith that everyone was doing a marvellous job and it was such a shame one key player derailed everything by leaving in July?”
In fact it is the range of excuses that Liverpool trot out that seems to annoy the paper’s writers so much (although it is of course more than possible that Liverpool has simply reduced the amount of booze the reporter can consume on a match day that has led to this outpouring). Here are the excuses the Telegraph found…
1. Luis Suarez left.
2. Daniel Sturridge is injured.
3. Liverpool did everything possible to sign Alexis Sanchez but he would not come.
4. There was no other striker available, so they had to buy Mario Balotelli.
5. No-one questioned the wisdom of signing the eight summer recruits at the time, every deal is risky, and there are not too many clubs in the Premier League who had a good summer in transfer market.
The problem with the excuses is that Liverpool, by speaking in these terms (and yes, of course, I only have the newspapers’ words for it, I wasn’t at the press conferences) are saying that they could not have done more.
Now I admit Untold makes excuses for Arsenal – we point to the injuries and the referees’ actions – but by and large Arsenal FC itself does not do this. Of course I am sure you can find one or two quotes from Mr Wenger we he does, but not as a wholesale policy.
But the big, big, big point is that Mr Wenger chose not to buy more defensive players because the right ones were not available, and we did have cover. Not enough cover in the end given the wholesale defensive injuries we got, but at least some cover. And he was right to sell Vermaelen, as his injury has stopped him playing for Barce. Liverpool chose to spend all their money – and now say, “but the people we wanted were not available or would not come”.
Of course they can spend again, but they are already under investigation for FFP breaches (although like Man C before them, they are in denial) – so spend spend spend in January, even if the money is there, is going to cause problems. And the manager boasted of not buying lots of middle ranking players.
As the Telegraph says, “the impression given is those responsible are telling themselves circumstances made it unavoidable. If that is the case, it is even more disconcerting for Liverpool fans than the sight of Martin Skrtel employed as an emergency centre-forward – surely the most damning indictment of the wretched recruitment of the club.”
And yes, yes, yes, I know, I am endlessly critical of the Telegraph. My point is that it is rather extraordinary that they have now taken time off from Arsenal bashing to bash the previously untouchable Liverpool. Indeed they have gone further…
“Liverpool went into the game with Basel with a goalkeeper who doesn’t know whether to kick the ball or exorcise it; centre-halves who you expect to be bullied by AFC Wimbledon next month; midfielders whose goals and assist record must be evident to the statistical wizards who are so revered by John W. Henry; and a 32-year-old striker who ran out of gas 72 hours before kick-off.”
Wow indeed. But then there is more – and this is where the comparison to Arsenal gets interesting…
“That is why those who want Brendan Rodgers out as a result of Liverpool’s performances this season are deluding themselves if they think it will change anything under the current set-up.
“Fenway Sports Group would interview another series of idealistic managers delivered fresh from the Uefa pro-licence course, each one no doubt adept at arranging training sessions and communicating his ideas. He’d still be at the mercy of the quality of Liverpool’s recruitment.”
(Underneath that last statement is a pic of Balotelli).
Liverpool have its Transfer Committee, because there probably was corruption in the club in the 1990s when transfer after transfer came through the same agents. A committee to run things was a pattern adopted by Woolwich Arsenal but abandoned in 1898 when Thomas Mitchell was appointed as our first manager. We’ve never gone back to it since.
But even then the Telegraph had not finished with Liverpool. For in a separate article they listed the players they think are not worth the transfer fee and give them marks.
- Rickie Lambert, £4 million 5/10
- Adam Lallana, £25 million 5/10
- Emre Can, £9.75 million 4/10
- Dejan Lovren, £20 million 3/10
- Javier Manquillo, loan 5/10
- Alberto Moreno, £12 million 6/10
- Lazar Markovic, £20 million 4/10
- Mario Balotelli, £16 million 3/10
Personally I think that the Balotelli mark is a bit generous, but I am still chuffed at the way Untold said that Balotelli to Arsenal was a vapour transfer. One nil to us.
Still it makes you think.