Los Conquistadores Rojos ... (dare we start to believe again?)

Posted by Red_in_Holland on August 19, 2004, 07:57:26 PM

The Conquering Reds? ... dear god, I hope so.

Rafa Benitez comes across as a pleasant, enthusiastic, intelligent and above all commited individual. He is assured of what he wants to achieve, seems to know exactly how he intends to achieve this, and is unwavering in his belief that he will achieve it.

Why not? He has confounded the might of Real Madrid and Barcalona and, even after the warning he issued by winning La Liga in his first season at Valencia, he still managed to repeat that triumph while having considerably less assets at his disposal than these huge clubs.

Josemi, Nunes, Garcia and Alonso. All speak of his motivational powers, of how he manages to make teammates mates, exactly that, friends that play for each other, for the good of the team. Act as a team, think as a team, play as team, one for all, and all for one (as Dumas once put it - old inside right for France, I believe). I think Benitez has clearly shown the benefits of his system; we have all been particularly impressed by Valencia at Anfield recently.

We had a reasonable team going here. We had 2001, a season of Cups and a mad dance over Europe culminating at Dortmund, which brought back the old feelings of glory associated with a Liverpool of yore. We had second place the year following, with a points total that would normally have given us first place. Still, something was missing, something was alluding us.

Players went missing for matches ... heads went down and stayed down. Rafa won't stand for that folks, that will be the difference. Benitez doesn't exactly shirk confrontation does he?

Le Tallac "I need to play" ... ok lad off to St Etienne for a season then.
Danny "you will play me for at least 40 matches" Murphy ... bye bye Danny lad.
Michael "hey, everyone knows I can take as long as I like to sign" ... Owen, sorry lad, no one told me, and no one takes the piss out of LFC while I am boss. Bye bye Michael.

Josemi arriving. Who wants to pretend they had heard of him? Brilliant, fitted in like he had always been there, and the tackle on the unfortunate AS Roma bloke had us all chuckling and whispering 'happy days' into our beers. He will do, deffo.

Nunes, unknown quantity really, but did break into the Real Madrid team, though he had had to contend with beating Figo and the FV for a place, so I am happy Rafa wanted him, and he has ended up with us.

Xabi Alonso ... well, wtf can I say? I AM FECKIN' DELIGHTED! Last summer Ferguson was thinking of paying the 20mill buyout clause for him. Real Madrid were sniffing like crazy to get him. Ex-Spanish and Real Madird great Michel says Alonso is far better than Vieira (Alonso can do all Vieira can do, but Vieira can't do what Alonso can). That'll f'ckin do me, then.

Now also talk of Garcia from Barcelona ... if this comes off, it will be superb!!

What have we seen so far, then? Grazer AK was a toughie on paper, they nearly knocked Ajax out at the same stage last season, yet we actually waltzed over them, outplayed them the whole match in fact. The team looked revitalized and looked bold, daring to utilise their new found freedom on the pitch to its full.

Spurs away - let's be fair, we ruled the roost the first half, they didn't get a look in. The second half we run out of steam, chasing the long balls from Spurs, our legs went, though if we had been given the penalties we should have, it wouldn't matter much. I have still seen more pleasing football in a couple of matches than I have for a long long while. Fact.

Benitez says he identifies faults, and will fix them one at a time until he has eradicated all the faults in our game. In the past we have all seen the faults occurring, and were totally frustrated under Houllier to just seeing them repeated, week after week. I get the impression that Rafa sees what we see, and WILL NOT ALLOW them to re-occur. Something very positive indeed.

Gentlemen and Ladies, I think we have a winner.

Dare we begin to hope again? Yeah ... f'ckin right we do.


© Red in Holland 2004

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