The RAWK Scribe End of Season Spyin' Kop Review

Posted by StevenLFC on May 15, 2012, 09:09:07 PM

Liverpool Football Club's 2011/2012 season is in the books now, and to draw a line under the season, some of your best loved RAWK Scribes (and some you probably can't believe are Scribes) have answered questions set by yours truely in what I guess you could call an Internal Spyin' Kop. You can answer the questions too if you like, but I think the best thing to do with this topic is discuss the answers given by the Scribes. Enjoy.
Question 1: With the advent of City and Spurs and this being our third consecutive season outside the top four do you think Liverpool are now a second tier team?

archie: Another season were we finish 6th or below then I think this will be the case.
blurred: I think we're in imminent danger of dropping out of the 'leading pack' of clubs, certainly, if we haven't already. The years of underinvestment under Hicks and Gillett, coupled with some underwhelming performances from large parts of our recruits in the last couple of transfer windows has foretold of some pretty trying times to come if we don't buck our ideas up.

I'm not saying we need some oligarchian-style largesse from our owners this summer, but we certainly have to be smarter, both in the transfer market and on the training ground, to avoid having to rely on cup runs to get us in to Europe in the coming seasons.

If you asked any non-LFC fan if we were now a second-tier team they'd almost certainly say yes.  That tells you.
Rhi: No, I don't think so. It takes more than just poor results to become a "second tier team", and while we really need to be performing better than we have been, I don't think there's much danger of us dropping down a tier any time soon. The truth is that Liverpool FC is a huge global name, and it takes more than a few poor seasons to dent that. I'm not saying we shouldn't worry about our status as a top team, but I think it's a little dramatic to suggest we've become a midtable club (table doesn't lie, blah blah, yawn) in just 3 years. But then I might just be deluded. :)
hinesy: No I don't but I might have to accept it. Doesn't mean I think it. (I know what I mean..) To me, we're a top team, we have been since the 60's and will always be. Liverpool are a massive club and will never be '2nd tier'. But as far as the PL goes? We've been in that 4th placing chasing pack for a long time, still are. I see the PL as 2 teams fighting for 1st place, 4 others chasing for the 3/4/5/6 place and we're in that bunch. So yes and no.
lachesis: I think so, yes. I look at my aspirations for next season and they are now that of what Spurs, Everton and Villa were a few years ago. Top 6 material and hope if one of the other clubs has a shocker we are ready to pounce. It wasn't long ago that we had consolidated third position as our own almost.

The counter argument is that the first tier has expanded to include other clubs. I think there is some weight to this in the improvement of Spurs and City but it's also balanced by the underachievement and decline of Arsenal and Chelsea. To put it into context, measuring year by year points tallies, Chelsea have fallen the furthest but we're still miles behind them.

I think we are better than what we have shown easily. But I look at the other clubs now: United, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and City and all these clubs are currently better than us, meaning we come in sixth.

There's no point beating our chests saying everything is OK and we'll be challenging for fourth next season because if we don't, the pressure is then back on Kenny with fans believing that fourth is actually an expectation. We're capable but we needs things to go in our favour for now.
The 5th Benitle: I don't think you can argue otherwise. Top tier club, second tier side. For now.
Finn Solomon: Third time's the charm they say. I think it's undeniable that we've fallen far down in the pecking order and have been unable to make a decent challenge for the European football spots for three seasons. Granted each of those seasons were under a different manager but the trend is worrying.
Aristotle: In terms of instant satisfaction, yes. But then again I take much comfort in watching the season Juventus had. They got in quality players despite 2 seasons out of the CL by offering competitive wages and above all else buying players who want to succeed at that club not those who see them as a stepping stone. They might not be many but there are still players out there who want to come to Liverpool for who they are. They are out there and if we can find them then this will just be a bump in the road. Having said that the longer we stay out the more entitled others will feel.
Question 2: How do you think the club handled the Luis Suarez 'Racism' issue? Could/should the club have acted differently?
archie: This is an issue were I am no means an expert. Thanks to some really good analysis and writing on here I was able to get a grasp of all of it, esp the FA report. For me, initially I was pleased that the club decided to back their man. Whilst t-shirts was a little controversial it spoke of solidarity and a squad belief in their team mate and friend. Kenny appeared strong and it seemed that we would put up a good case.
In the end, I don't think we came out of it well and I do agree that Kenny was hung out a little by the owners. The club for me, should have acted differently by having the courage to stand up for what they believed to be true (the truth). But, faced with intense pressure from the media we folded. A steep learning curve for all I think.

blurred: Appallingly from start to finish.

Rhi: The club could and should have acted very differently. The funny thing (and I don't mean funny ha ha, here) about the whole thing was how it became a partisan issue. I did it myself. To anyone on the "outside", I'd defend Suarez to the hilt, and I'd defend the club's actions too. But deep down I was mostly very uncomfortable with the whole thing. I still struggle with aspects of it now, and I was accused earlier this week of just believing what the press told me to ;D... But it's not that. I just think that, while there may have been no malice involved, using the word "negro" in relation to a black man, in this country, is not acceptable. Regardless of the cultural differences there, it just doesn't sit right with me, and I think the club and its staff were terribly naive to not have dealt with it before it became an issue. And once it became an issue, they were arrogant and bullish instead of accepting responsibility and apologising. I realise this is a highly unpopular view amongst the Liverpool fanbase, but I've thought it over a million times since, and I've read the report, and while we were clearly stitched up by the FA, that doesn't mean that Suarez was entirely innocent and it certainly doesn't mean the club were right to treat it in the way that they did. Thankfully I don't think it will have any lasting damage. But mistakes were made. Let's hope to never have to revisit that particular kind of episode ever again.
hinesy: Before the decision I think they handled it fine and the t-shirt support and so forth doesn't bother me. Afterwards they were right to accept the decision and not appeal. but Suarez was petty and ill informed, be that by himself or others, to not shake Evra's hand. He caused a lot of bother for Kenny doing that and the club. It was stupid of him. But a lot of fans handled it very badly. And where the club did handle it badly was in the media. We could've said "Evra is already proved an unreliable witness and we wish not to comment on it anymore" and left it at that. Personally I think Evra's a lying shit and proof that Ferguson's a twat by giving him the captaincy. But I think the club was ill informed in its media dealings. We can't win that battle once the racism charge is 'proven' by whatever court.

I'll be very fucking interested to see what happens with Terry. My concern is the police will a) find him guilty in which case the FA will say the police will have dealt with it, or b) acquit in which case  so will the FA, or c)find him guilty and the FA have to give him a higher ban that Luis because he will have been found guilty of racism not bringing the game into disrepute which was Suarez's charge...
lachesis: It is bad that I'm not really arsed? There's too much ambiguity in the whole thing to feel too strongly either way. He's not a racist. The whole thing was ridiculous and unprecedented and everything up until the punishment was just a charade.
The 5th Benitle: Badly. Kenny was left under a bus, the absence of the owners and Ayre in particular was very obvious. All very well to come in after the damage has been done with cleverly worded press releases. Where were you when Kenny was getting it in the neck from Sky Sports without all the information at his fingertips?
I will admit, I loved the t-shirts at the time. I now look back at that particular episode and wince.
Evra is a nasty, provocative bastard. Suarez bit and said a word he shouldn't have. If we'd handled it properly from the start he'd have got a two game ban.
Kenny is many things but a PR man he ain't. So why was he left alone to face the baying hordes?
Finn Solomon: I was one of those who was delighted with the initial response but felt that the club should have stuck to its guns instead of meekly accepting the ban. The FA report was a joke and they were clearly looking to make an example of Suarez, but the club's shifting stance from full support to 'let's just take it on the chin and hope it goes away' didn't help in the least. A fiery test for our new owners and one which I'm not sure they passed.
Aristotle: At first I was delighted. The support Kenny gave Suarez was admirable but the way we backed down was shit and the following fiasco has been done to death. Although I'm still not over how we failed to do anything about the horrible FA file that was inconsistent and terrible and if they weren't going to play fair we should've gotten dirty in reply.
Quesion 3: We performed so well in the cup games, yet at times we were very poor in the league, why do you think this is?
archie: Average players who cannot perform consistently well and lack the mentality of winning every game. Other factors of course, injuries, inexperience, bad luck at times. Ultimately though, we were not good enough as a team/squad.
Rhi: It often works out that way in transitional seasons. It certainly has for us in the past. Look at 2005? Look at Houllier's time? Squads that were almost there but not quite, excelling in the cups and faltering over the course of a league season. We didn't have the strength in depth to sustain a challenge on all fronts. There were other mitigating factors such as the Suarez row which distracted the club at a vital time, and it's a lot easier to let that motivate you for one off games, while taking your eye off the ball in the league. Such is life. But we won a trophy. If you can't enjoy that much, there's something wrong somewhere.
1. Early doors I think we had a lot of bad luck, hitting the woodwork and so forth in the league yet once we won the Carling Cup and got into Europe we gave up and concentrated on the FA Cup.
2. Frequently we didn't have a plan b when plan a didn't work and the lack of time played with Carroll meant when he did play, it was too often lumped up to him rather than find a way to play with him.
3. Injuries. Not excuses but injuries hampered our season. We started what? 4? games with Gerrard, Suarez and Carroll together . We lost Lucas and then Adam (granted that latter one wasn't the end of the world) and perhaps the only injury that helped us was possibly sadly Carra's meaning we had to play Agger and Skrtel. Of course Agger was injured a great deal too. It was a difficult season in the league and I genuinely think our cup run in the Carling Cup was down to strong teams early doors and motivation latterly.
lachesis: Cup games are played on determination, adrenalin and effort. The early league formats in the European competitions have destroyed that. Physically and off the ball we can match most when we're up for it - we've shown that for years now.

The league games have just been a mess. We've always looked susceptible to a counter attack by even the 'fodder' of the league - even when we've dominated passing and played really decent. We've played players out of position when better options have been available, we have taken the source of last seasons goals out the first team without replacing them and we have failed to find an influential position for Gerrard (when fit). Like I pointed out in the Barca thread, my opinion is:

'...success in the premier league seems to hinge on quite a few fundamental attirbutes. You need some direct dribbling/ball carrying which asks questions and is aggressive in its nature - something we lack (with the exception of Suarez). You need a good core of players attacking the support, almost certainly two, but in this day and age more likely to be four inc. originating attacker - something we lack (I don't think it can be argued with any shred of self belief that we have got enough players in and around the box this season). Intelligent movement into space to receive a pass - something we lack (I can't imagine counting the amount of times people have summed up our problems by saying we lack game intelligence). Composed finishing - something we lack (Wild shots, sitters thrashed onto woodwork, not enough belief in the final touch).'
The 5th Benitle: Silverware is massive for this club. I genuinely think when van Persie beat us, after we dominated Arsenal we mentally switched off in the league and prioritised the cups. Mind you that doesn't explain the first hour of the Cup Final which remains a mystery to me. People seem to forget we were doing OK in the league at one point.
Lucas' injury was a massive blow, and an equal one was not buying cover for him in January.
We were bedding in quite a few players - personally I think we did so more than we needed to and the likes of Maxi and Kuyt should have played more.
We will never have a season like that again for hitting the woodwork and indeed missed chances. It was an absolute abomination in that regard.
Finn Solomon: As ever it goes back to a question of mentality and motivation. I don't buy the excuse that the Arsenal game ended our hopes in the league. There was still a hell of a lot of football to be played and questions need to be asked regarding the players' lack of will, fight and effort in the league after that.
Aristotle: Mentality. There are far too many in our squad that are happy winning a cup and stopping there at a job well done. As someone mentioned a few months back. Had we finished 7th or higher, it would've been the highest league finish for Downing, Henderson, Adam, Carroll and Enrique. All of them played a vital part in our season and all of them started the first league game of the season. For them an 8th place finish and 2 cup finals is still the best season of their careers (bar maybe winning promotion, but that's hardly inspiring).
Question 4: After a poor season in the league, how would you describe our current squad? Lack of depth? Lack of quality? Maybe Both? Which positions concern you the most?

archie: Both. Midfield has become a bit of a shambles for me.
Rhi: I think we're a central midfielder away from being in a very different position. Our younger players are just starting to step up and mature into the players they have the potential to be. We have a platform in defence to build on. We have two forwards who scare defences to death, even if they have been wasteful. We have a good mix of youth and experience. But since Lucas got injured, we've struggled in midfield. We haven't had the platform he affords us, so our other midfielders have had to sit back more, and haven't contributed anywhere near enough goals or attacking threat. I still think we need a new left back, a wide player and a striker, as well as the CM though. The CM and the wide man need to improve on what we have.
hinesy: Lack of understanding and time spent playing in a consistent way. The one thing that frustrates me is lack of leadership on the pitch that links to understanding. Gerrard isn't the midfield general yet his status means others won't try and dictate a game the way Xabi did for example. Similarly Carra at the back holds the defence brilliantly but doesn't know how to link it going forward so that area seperates. Then with a 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 formation we have coverage in front of the back 4 but that concentrates on that job and doesn't link on the ground to the attack. Consequently we have periods of high speed attacking football then get stuck and retreat. Then all too often a lack of understanding means we caught at the back when trying too hard and the opposition get a goal. West Brom/Arsenal/*pick a team...
So many will talk of Downing, Adam, Carroll and so on,but for me its understanding and one winger, and some proper understanding and er that's it.

However at the end of the day, I couldn't say we had a squad or even a first team that thrills me to the core, that I think "yeah we can take on Barca,Real,inter etc". So in honest answer to your question, we have a squad that ought to get us to 3rd at best and that's not good enough.
lachesis: Inexperience mixed with senior players not stepping up to the plate. Too much reliance placed on younger players in key positions, lack of quality in those we bought to make their graduation easier. At the moment the whole of midfield concerns me. If we had a set style of playing then you could probably isolate it down further but aside from Lucas I don't think we have a 'midfielder' to make consistent and influential impact in the centre fo the field.
The 5th Benitle: Lack of depth in quality, if you'll allow me to fudge the question. DM concerns me, as mentioned above. We will need a wide player and a striker this summer although it doesn't take a genius to realise that Downing will improve.
Finn Solomon: Our squad isn't as threadbare as it was under Hodgson but we could use a lot more quality for key positions. There have been poor decisions made both financially and with regards to the squad. Downing's shocking record of zero goals and zero assists speaks for itself, and while Carroll is slowly but surely improving we had to retool the entire squad and tactics to get him to play his best.

With Maxi and Kuyt probably leaving and the Agger and Lucas injuries having a major impact on our season we should be looking to bring in two wingers for each flank and cover for the central midfield. Our midfield has been our biggest problem this season, static and prone to being overrun. For the defence I sincerely hope the Coates loan rumours aren't true, and Kelly can deputise at CB if need be.
Aristotle: Before the season we needed a central midfielder, a left back, a quality winger, a center back to replace Carragher and if there was room to spare a goal scorer at a stretch. After the season we need a central midfielder, a quality winger, a center back to replace Carragher and a goal scorer. We've added depth to the squad but an overworked Enrique aside added no visable quality. Henderson will become good but I wouldn't bat an eyelid if Adam, Downing and even Bellamy wouldn't feature again for the club. So if we promote from within or get a cheap/bosman then we're set for left back. But apart from that we went 2 transfer windows and stand with the same crucial problems. On top of the previous indestructable Lucas having a season ending injury and the players we're relied too much on for the past decade are now a year older.
Question 5: Which of our players would you say had a good season?

archie: Skrtel, Johnson
Rhi: Skrtel, Agger, Johnson, Suarez. Lucas before he got injured.
hinesy: Enrique, Suarez, Carroll for effort, Skrtel has been our best player for me, Johnson, had a good season all season. The rest in lesser quantities.
lachesis: Skrtel, Henderson grew as he was played consistently in the middle. I find it difficult to fault Johnson - one of our truly class players. Enrique also had a good season overall when taking into account team form in his own dip. Lucas looked like he was going to have his best season and finally cement his place in the midfield until that injury...
The 5th Benitle: Martin Skrtel, Danny Agger, Suarez and actually I think Glen Johnson was impressive on the whole. Many others were at about 6.5 out of 10.
Finn Solomon: Skrtel improved immensely in my book, while Lucas was having the best form of his career before his injury. Bellamy made me yearn for the lost years he could have spent at Anfield, and Maxi always looked dependable in the rare occasions he got to play.

Can't really say much about the rest of the team. Enrique started out strong and put in some shocking performances towards the end, vice-versa for Carroll, Suarez has been a tad too inconsistent in front of goal, Kuyt rarely pops up with the big game winners nowadays and Gerrard looks to be feeling his age.
Aristotle: If Enrique had gotten a rest (I still maintain he needed a mental rest rather than a physical one) he could've been candidate for player of the season. Lucas was in the form of his life prior to his injury, Agger transforms our defense into a functioning unit when he plays, Johnson proved yet again how criminall underrated he is. Bellamy did well on a few occasions but stayed hidden for others. Maxi seemed to be the only player to score on a consistent basis and Luis Suarez is a world class player but left isolated far too often. But player of the season is no doubt Martin Skrtel. The less said about the rest the better. Honerable mention to Doni though, who did relatively well considering how little he's played.
Question 6: Any players you think need to improve heading into 2012/2013?

archie: All of them. We finished 8th.

blurred: Every player should be looking to improve year on year, and we don't have anyone who performed so well this year that they're beyond that aim heading in to 2012/13. There's only one or two who I'd say I would be satisfied with to get a repeat performance next time round, otherwise improvement is needed across the board.
Rhi: All of them should be looking to improve! I think it probably goes without saying that we need to see much, much more from Downing. Adam and Enrique must improve if they want to keep their places in the squad, too.
hinesy: Lots of them. For effort. Its a Liverpool shirt you're wearing for fucks sake. A Liverpool shirt.
lachesis: Downing, Suarez, Gerrard and Spearing.
The 5th Benitle: Downing obviously. Henderson will I'm sure. Adam needs to but I remain to be convinced he has it in him. Carroll does, and we saw signs of it in the last few games which is hugely exciting. The player who needs to improve most though is Steven Gerrard. It's beyond farcical that he hasn't had a fixed role in the team since 2009. He needs to realise that playing his own game will help LFC and that running around trying to make up for others deficiencies will not. It's high time he settled into a role and prolonged his career by doing so.
Finn Solomon: Downing, Reina, Carroll, Adam, Spearing and Enrique.
Aristotle: Everyone, including those above. Skrtel and Agger partnership being the possible exceptions and of course Lucas.
Question 7: Transfers; this summer Liverpool brought in Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Alex Doni, Stewart Downing, Jose Enrique, Sebastian Coates & Craig Bellamy. Obviously, some of these players have featured more than others, but how would you assess this 'summer transfer class' as a whole?

archie: It's kind of been done to death around many other threads. I would say more miss than hit. That's not to say get rid of them all. As alluded to above, room for improvement from all. (bit harsh on Bellamy maybe)

Rhi: As a whole? I think we'll see more from them next season. Is that diplomatic enough?
hinesy: Henderson in the middle will get better, Downing I'll give til Christmas to see how he is, Doni both good and bad, Enrique I like, Coates hasn't played enough to make a judgement, Bellamy at times wonderful at times not. He needs to play in the right games. Like v premiership lower table teams. Adam I really can't make my mind up. meh is best.
lachesis: Bellamy like Aurelio needs to go. I think both players could have been great for us but they are too fragile for our aspirations. Bellamy is hit and miss, he'll have a blinder and then start and be anonymous.

Coates should have got more games. As it is we can see potential but there comes a stage when it's being wasted if the opportunity to develop and start presents itself and we choose not to take it.

Enrique I like, fantastic player who has come in for a bit of stick lately, which whilst justified is not often judged in the context of the whole teams 2012 collapse.
Downing has been influential in some games but there's no end product. He appears to be performing better on the right. I'm not sure if he can add the end product to his game.

Adam is the one who splits the fans the most this year it seems. He has good attributes in his locker, they are being nullified by our setup and ultimately he is a one trick pony. What we gain doesn't compare to what we lose by trying to make him into a disciplined midfielder.
The 5th Benitle: Poor, sadly, but I could see the logic in them. Who could have predicted for example that every single good Downing cross would have been missed by a striker? My main whinge with Henderson was not his signing, which I think will turn out to be a masterstroke, but the use of him on the right. If Adam is a squad player, meh but ok. Coates could be a great signing and he has to be our #3 CB from August.
Bellamy was a very good signing, and on the whole so was Enrique.
Finn Solomon: I was optimistic because they seemed to address the key weaknesses we had in our squad, even if we had to pay over the odds but for one reason or another most of them have lost their good early season form. Not one of our better summers.
Aristotle: A failure as a whole. Jose Enrique did well but as we tend to do overplayed him to the point where people were wanting to replace him. Henderson did well in center midfield but barely played there. Charlie Adam needs to be carried but isn't good enough (in my opinion) to warrant it. Doni is a great back up keeper but if that's how you define a transfer window you're either Real Madrid or Barcelona or have failed in the market. Coates did very well whenever he seemed to play considering new circumstances and all, even scored (arguably) goal of the season. Yet he started only 8 games and that was with Daniel Agger only being fit to start in 30 of 51 games. Bellamy did well but was inconsistent and was more of a bonus than a grand plan and I struggle to find a positive about Downing's season other than his tackle/assist in the FA cup final.
Question 8: Andy Carroll is a man who has split the opinions of all Liverpool fans. What are your thoughts on how Andy started this season, and why he seemed to improve near the end?

archie: Is it ok to still have not made your mind up? Being honest, I always felt a bit sorry for him. Sold for this ridiculous fee. Injured and never really able to find his feet. He got some games, then he was left out. Taking plenty of stick. All of that can't have been easy.  Really think Toon away has proved to be a watershed moment. Some of the performances since then have been great. Now, if he can bring that kind of form in August what a difference he could make.
Rhi: I think he has the potential to be an absolute monster, but we need to get more players in and around him to make the most of what he offers. I don't think the Newcastle game was the turning point - he had started to play well and offer much more to the team several weeks before that game. Is it simply a case of the conditioning work starting to pay off? Did he finally click into the system the coaches want us to play? Is he just getting used to playing with someone as unpredictable as Luis Suarez? Are his team-mates just getting used to playing with him? All of the above? Probably.

hinesy: I think it was down to match fitness, and the team actually having time to play with him not at him. We still don't have a wing system that serves him properly and the one we do hasn't played well enough. So I feel for him.
lachesis: I've always said that if a player gives 100% and develops, there's not much else you can ask. At first it didn't look like his heart was here and he was lethargic which pissed me off. Whether this was fitness I don't know. The last few games he has been immense and has developed. The only thing he needs to improve now is his goal scoring rate and he should be afforded that opportunity.
The 5th Benitle: I've always said that if a player gives 100% and develops, there's not much else you can ask. At first it didn't look like his heart was here and he was lethargic which pissed me off. Whether this was fitness I don't know. The last few games he has been immense and has developed. The only thing he needs to improve now is his goal scoring rate and he should be afforded that opportunity.
Finn Solomon: In the first half of the season I wondered why he wasn't starting more games, he did seem like he had problems settling in. As others have said I think the light dawned when he was booed by the fans who had loved him. He realised he wasn't going back and put in extra training hours, for which I give him immense credit. Paid off too.
Aristotle: I don't know what to say really. I thought he looked brilliant in the first 2-3 games. Then came a period where he seemed not to give a fuck and I was on the verge of giving up on him ever making it here and thought whoever takes him off our hands will gain a brilliant player if they get his head right. As for his improvement. I think it was a combination of factors. He started working hard, he lost a bit of weight, he got more familiar with his teammates and he finally seemed to come to terms that he is never coming back (the St. James' Park game sealing that for good). But I think something happened after the Blackburn game. He had been working hard no doubt about it but Blackburn was finally where he had something to show for it. Most of his improvement was relatively trivial. Better hold up play, more accurate flick ons and an added spring in his step but Blackburn was a result. His hard work and determination prevailed in the end and he was the man who brought home the win. Speaking from personal experience when everything seems to go against you, scoring a winner is like feeling the weight of the world lifted from your shoulders.
Question 9: Jamie Carragher, some below average performances this year have lead to some fans questioning Jamie's ability to continue as a Liverpool player, is he finished?

archie: A legend of the club who deserves the highest praise for the many superb performances over the years. However, I would shed no tears if he hung up the boots soon.
blurred: I wouldn't have him in my first choice starting eleven in most games, but he's far from finished. He's good for 20-30 performances a year still, and his experience in nurturing through some of the younger players can not be overestimated. There's something to be said for the small intangible of keeping some Scousers around Melwood, too.
Rhi: No. It's become almost fashionable in some corners to roll eyes at Carragher's inclusion in the team, but while he's not perfect, he still offers more bottle and more heart than almost anyone else in our squad. He might not have it in him to be a regular now, and yes it is frustrating to have to play a deeper line, but he still offers something to the squad. No doubt about it.
hinesy: As a regular first team first choice? yes. Not as a defender. Not as someone who understands fundamentally what our club is. Not as someone who knows how to motivate, energise and encourage new players.
lachesis: He can still play well, there's no doubt. But if you do play him, he's the type of player that needs to be played week in-week out to keep his form as it depends so much on his physical conditioning. Unfortunately he's in that phase of his career where he's not part of our best centre back pairing. He's past the stage of being a squad player for me. We need to develop Coates and other centre backs more.
The 5th Benitle: Finished no, but absolutely must be now what big Sami was for us in his last season, ie #4 option.
We play much better without him in the side, yet he is still capable of the odd defensive masterclass.
Finn Solomon: He should have been finished a long time ago. Our entire defensive line suffers when he's in a team, and his constant screaming that some take for passion looks to me more like clutching at straws whenever he makes another mistake. It can't be good for the calm of the rest of the back four. It's a mystery why he continues to start games, he's been error-prone and a liability on the pitch for most of the season. It should be made clear that he will not start until there are absolutely no other CBs available, and the sooner the better.
Aristotle: He's not finished. But as a Liverpool player he should've been finished in 2009, an argument can be made for 2007 or 2008. His days as an automatic starter for Liverpool should've been numbered half a decade ago. He still has 25-30 good games in him a season, but they shouldn't come for Liverpool. He should step aside and let others more up to the task take over, not to mention his monster wages which could go towards paying for a younger, better center back. As far as I'm concerned, thanks for all the memories but don't let the door hit you on the way out. The other possibility being a pay as you play contract and keep him around for Everton, games which he tends to excel at.

Question 10: 38 games, only 47 goals. Only one player scored more than 10 goals, our fifth highest scorer was 'Own goals' with 7, we hit the woodwork 29 times in the league... why didn't we score more goals?

archie: Opposition keepers, panic, lack of precision..... Or maybe we lack a true top class finisher?
Rhi: Luck. Poor finishing. Poor chance creation. Lack of confidence. Lack of midfield runners. More luck.
hinesy: My cock at 14 yrs old. 5inches to the left. That's why. Any of our attempts 5 inches either way and we'd be singing happy days.
lachesis: We put all our eggs in one basket with Carroll and Suarez expected to be an old fashioned strike partnership that bears the weight of all the teams goal. It can't be done unless you have an exceptional player in exceptional form like Van Persie or Owen years ago.

Also, the other goal sources we took out the first team. Our other attacking threat in Gerrard was injured for chunks of the season and when returned played most of his time in central midfield.

Bottom line is we gambled and it didn't work.
The 5th Benitle: Own goals was our best signing of the summer, surprised United let us have him to be honest.
We were unlucky - that's true, though I know many say luck doesn't exist. The answer is confidence and runs of games. Suarez exile didn't help, Andy's lack of confidence didn't either and Dirk didn't play often enough to get into goalscoring form.
To be fair though we didn't create enough and that's a worry.
Finn Solomon: Have to lay the blame at Downing's feet for this one, he was brought in to do the simple job of whipping in crosses to Carroll in the box and failed miserably. We looked to be going to an old-fashioned big man up top with crosses flying in from the wings and it didn't happen.

Then you have the lack of confidence and a winning mentality that I mentioned earlier, as well as Suarez not being clinical enough in front of goal. There's been more than one occasion where he should have passed rather than blaze the ball wide.
Aristotle: We didn't have any players to follow up and granted that was before the respective hat-tricks of Suarez and Gerrard but there was a time in the season where the most goals scored inside the penalty box came from Maxi Rodriguez, the only player who intelligently moves around in the box. That used to be Dirk Kuyt but he was employed so deep and wide on the right that he never got in a position to do that. We took shots from bad angles and positions and even when a player showed initiative to create there was no one to follow up. Suarez used to beat 2-3 defenders but still not have a single team mate to pass to. Or when Jordan Henderson hit the post against Fulham and there were 7 Fulham players between the goal and a Liverpool player and nothing came of it. They say you make your own luck and if that's true we did everything we possibly could to go against it. We hit the woodwork 29 times in the league but I struggle to recall how many times, and would wager on you could count it with the fingers of one hand, where the rebound landed at a Liverpool player.
Question 11: How do you think Kenny Dalglish has done in his first full season back in charge? Could he have done anything differently?

archie: A mixed season for Kenny, little doubt about that. It's hard to know what some of the answers are (we still don't really know if the owners have a clue imo). I think he persisted with some things on the pitch that weren't working and, at times, under used quality players in our squad.
Rhi: I think he's still learning again, I think he regrets some decisions, I think he'd certainly do a lot of things differently given the chance, and I think we'll see a different Kenny Dalglish next season. I think if he was a young manager with a "5 year plan" a lot of fans would have more patience with him (for example if it was AVB - yeah I hate that acronym too). Which is fucking insane, when you think about it. It's like in some ways being Kenny Dalglish is working for him, and in others it's working against him. Many of us won't have a bad word said against him. Many assume that because he is Kenny Dalglish that he'll only ever be a relic of past glories. And the two sides can't seem to meet in the middle, there's just this increasingly extreme stand off. Anyway. I think he's done OK, considering some of the issues we have had to face. I truly believe that he is putting in place players who can push on from here. We have been appallingly unlucky at times this season, and while there's always an element of making your own luck, there have been LOTS of games this season that in anything other than freak circumstances, we'd have won. That played on our confidence, and it sort of perpetuated matters. We should have a much clearer idea of where the club is going under his leadership after next season. Assuming... etc.
hinesy: I was concerned that whilst he was a brilliant motivator, he might not be the best tactician but bringing in Steve Clarke reassured me. I have to say I felt like my club was doing things the way my club did things and on the +side he's rebuilt a sense of Liverpool. On the - side when it hasn't worked, the way he's dealt with the media has also excluded us, the new fan always searching for the reason, the explanation and so on. But the problem is Kenny can't speak to the news and us seperately so we are left bereft and puzzled. Thus seemingly we think Kenny's got positions wrong, players badly hired, games misunderstood and maybe, maybe he has. But we'll never know cos he keeps things where they should be. In house.
PS He's Kenny fucking Dalglish. Doesn't make him irreplaceable but it buys him more time than some sunny d drinkers would have it, looking for the quick fix thinking they're drinking the real thing.
lachesis: It will have been a learning curve for him as much as us. I'm sure he knows what mistakes he's made and that's part of the reason he's flown out so early to see Henry. I'm sure he's the type of guy that will hold his hands up and simply say 'Look this season was absolute shite, I believe I can do better - do you?'

I think he needs to pick a system and stick with it. If we're going to force players into a system, it has to be done with total conviction. If we are trying to fit a system to the players we need to decide on one fast.
The 5th Benitle: I'm not entirely comfortable answering that question but the one thing you know with Kenny is that he'd die for this club and will be more upset about our poor form than any of us. I think he inherited a godawful mess and did an amazing job to patch it together last season. He then regressed slightly when some of his signings didn't hit the ground running and recently the wheels have come off in the league at least. But he deserves, of course, the chance to put it right and I'm confident he will do.
What could he have done differently? Perhaps signed better players, or rather more suitable players. He hasn't really settled on a system. He could have handled the Suarez affair better too.
Finn Solomon: All things considered it's been a poor season. The cup/European placing debate has been done to death but the fact remains we're heading into next season with less resources needed to challenge once more. Loved the cup runs, some great memories but abysmal and inexcusable in the league.

What I'd like to see from Kenny are some smarter signings (hopefully now Commolli's gone) and a settled system of play. Right now we don't seem to have a clear set-up in mind, with the entire shape of the team changing depending whether or not Carroll's playing. A bit more motivation and mental toughness wouldn't go amiss, Kenny's the strongest man in world football in my opinion but it's frustrating how his attitude hasn't rubbed off onto the players.
Aristotle: We played great football in the beginning of the season but then it was as if someone had accidentally picked up Martin O'Neill's playbook because the moment we couldn't field our strongest XI we crumbled. Kenny ended our 6 year trophy drought and got us into the FA cup final. He deserves praise for that and no one will ever take that away from him but there were also highly questionable decisions. The Maxi vs. Downing dilemma that always landed in Downing's favour. Carroll getting a similar treatment with Kenny as Crouch with Benitez. Carragher starting 27 games and Coates 8. Naming 2-3 defenders on the bench in every game, not using them and even then making only 1-2 substitutions when the game was crying out for fresh legs. Most damning of all being that the moment Lucas went down our season was over (bar the phenomenal cup runs and even that were often close) and we all knew it.
Question 12: Finally, Liverpool Football Club; Carling Cup Winners, FA Cup Runners Up, 8th place in the Premier League. How would you define the season as a whole?
archie: Lots of highs (cups), too many lows (league).
Rhi: There are certain things that you are sure, no matter how much you want them, you will never get to see in your lifetime. Seeing a Kenny Dalglish managed Liverpool FC win a trophy at Wembley, with my own eyes, was one of those things 2 years ago. Now it's reality. A surreal and bizarre twist of fate that I will be forever thankful for. Stick your league form. I'm all about the sentimentality.
hinesy: The good the bad and the ugly. The good was great. The bad annoying and the ugly is now thankfully history.
lachesis: Summed up it can look like a medium-good season. The reality is many of us have been waiting for the end of the season for ages. 6 home wins gets a bit demotivating for the fans, there's no question. Our league form and displays have been so horrendous they have actually taken away part of lifting a cup.

What I mean to say is that had we really showed ourselves in the league and finished 6th but really played to our ability and fought to the end then you can hold your hands up, but it wasn't like that at all.

So yeah made up we've won a cup and it evokes memories that seem so long ago now but ultimately the deep rooted problems we show week in, week out with no improvement throw a cloud of deep concern in my mind that can't just be blown away so easily sadly.
The 5th Benitle: First silverware in yonks, two finals, too many front page headlines, much improvement needed. Rollercoaster?
Finn Solomon: Poor. The Carling Cup soothes some wounds but 8th place in the league is a disaster that could have so easily been prevented had we focused more and had a little more will to win. As it stands any bid to rise higher in the league next season is severely undermined.

I believe Kenny gambled on the cup runs over the league and it didn't quite pay off, I hope he'll concentrate more on the league next season because like it or not it's the only way we're ever going to become title challengers again. At least we have Europa League football to look forward to next season, it's a great opportunity for some of our players to familiarise themselves with European football.
Aristotle: 8th place in the league has not been acceptable at Liverpool for 50 years. And I'm really torn by this. We won the first trophy in 6 years and it was magical. We made another final and although we lost in the FA Cup final, that's still more finals than we've had in a hell of a long time (by our own standards). The transfer window was for the most part a failure but then again we do have some promising players like Henderson, Shelvey, Kelly, Sterling and Coates. And maybe, just maybe we're starting to see the unplayable monster that we all want Andy Carroll to become. But in the end a season is judged on results. After such a promising time last season how we managed to do so many things wrongly confounds me. The flip side being, there is not a single living person out there who understands that better than Kenny Dalglish.
Were it anyone else I'd call this season, even with the cup run an absolute disaster on and off the pitch. But since this is Kenny Dalglish I am also convinced that he will move heaven and earth to make things right again.

To sum it up this season was the last of the bad karma. We've fucked up so much, so badly and so many times that simply through law of averages we must be done with it. This season will go down as that season. The one where we hit the woodwork more than any other team in Europe, where we had disasters off the pitch and the very nature of the club tested. And despite all that we still managed to make it into Europe, win a trophy and come close to another one. It won't be one for the fairytales but at least we dumped our bad karma.
Well that's the end of that, hope you enjoyed it. Please feel free to comment on the answers given by the RAWK Scribes whether you agree or not.  :wave

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