It is an understatement to say Liverpool FC is in a terrible state of affairs at the moment. The only good news is that, finally, the board issues which have plagued the club for three years have been ironed out and a promising team of American businessmen has pledged to bring the club on its feet, up, running and to win major trophies in three years. After Liverpool so nearly snatched a 19th league title in the 2008/9 season, many argued that the Mighty Reds would do the trick and go that extra mile the following season. I for one could never see this happen. The mental damage that season did to many players is something which cannot be over simplified or ignored. Playing so well, week in, week out, scoring at will, completing doubles over Chelsea and Man. Utd and tearing Real Madrid to shreds was only rewarded by a second place finish. The league is a long and psychologically tiring campaign so winning zilch after such a tremendous effort would have certainly had a debilitating effect, even on the big names such as Gerrard and Torres. Add to that the injury factor and board room struggles and one can identify enough reasons for a disastrous last season. As a fan, the last twelve months turned out to be very hard to endure and I was looking forward to a fresh start this season knowing that the effects of 2008/9 would have subsided. Having watched dismal England humbled in South Africa, I hoped for better times ahead at Liverpool. It didn't come as a surprise when Rafa was politely told to hand in his resignation. I am still an admirer of Rafa, and was, to a certain extent saddened to see him move to pastures new. Many argue that failing to lead the team to a 19th title after five or six years was enough-a-reason for Rafa to be shown the exit. This to me was a blatant mistake by whoever sanctioned his departure. The boardroom matters required instant rectification, ambitious custodians needed to be found. New owners in place and Rafa would have been given another season to turn things around. This was not to be and Liverpool FC were now fighting on two fronts; searching for a new owner and new manager. Never an easy feat. We all know how events unfolded during the last two or three months. Roy Hodgson was handed the arduous task of bringing back the glory days at Anfield. Hodgson is a nice man, experienced in the field of football management. Expectations were high when he took over and, although my first preference would have been a certain Mr Dalglish, I was confident Hodgson would be a hit. However, it is becoming crystal clear today that the job at hand is too much for Hodgson to handle. Liverpool need authority, ambition and a bit of arrogance, yes. One factor which keeps haunting many fans is this special long-term friendship with Alex Ferguson. Such sentiment only serves to frustrate and repel ardent fans. It would be imprudent not to mention one or two positives. The man must be applauded for convincing the likes of Stevie G. and El Nino that there is life after Benitez after all. Acquiring the services of Joe Cole - for free - was a shrewd move. However, things went astray with the shameful departure of Mascherano. Out went Aquilani too (still unclear whether the player pressed for a return to Italy, albeit on loan) and in came Poulsen and Miereles. What defies explanation is Poulsen's transfer from Juventus - a club until recently in a similar situation, at least, on the field of play. In my view this transfer was all about passing the buck. Poulsen has been average, boring at times and one-dimensional. This brings me to another worrying factor regarding Hodgson's tenure so far - the passing game. The players seem to have forgotten how to accomplish a successful pass. Passing is the way football players communicate with each other. You don't see players chatting; you see players pass the ball to one another. So when players give the ball away (and we've had to endure quite a bit of this lately) - similar to a breakdown in human communication - then one can comprehend why goals have been few and far between and why we're conceding in every game. No coherance and positional discipline leaves much to be desired. The only time I've watched Liverpool play a decent forty-five minutes was against Arsenal when down to ten men. Other than that, play has been below par, lacklustre, frustrating. Liverpool were once a team renowned for being cheeky, arrogant on the field of play. Masters at the art of passing, this all stemmed from the man in charge of football matters. Hodgson must understand that time is running out. Premiership teams are nowadays harder to beat and qualifying for the CL cannot be taken for granted. This is not wishful thinking - we demand that performances drastically improve. We cannot spend another 3 years moulding out a team capable of winning the league cup and then hoping for a top three finish the season after. Success has to be round the corner. The fact that kids these days think of Liverpool as a team which simply doesn't cut it means we're losing out on a generation of fans. This hurts. The proud Liverpool fan has had enough. We need people at the helm capable of sowing the seeds of pride, ambition and a winning mentality. We need someone like Bill Shankly again to takes us all back to better shores. Had great hopes that this would be Hodgson and right now it looks as though I've been naive to think on those lines.
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