There is one thing, and one thing only, wrong with Liverpool Football Club at the moment.
It can be argued that Man Utd, Arsenal, and several other clubs, have more debt on the books than we do at Anfield. The difference between them and us, is that they have sustainable plans, and considerable income streams for paying them off.
Liverpool’s debt, and the way it has been leveraged against the club, has put this great footballing and national institution on the edge of a precipice. Like it or not, the recent financial management of Liverpool has been on a level of football suicide that is consistent with Peter Risdale and Leeds.
£30 million pounds a year to pay in interest, or £1 million every 9 days – whatever the figure really is, it means that the club basically has to qualify for the latter stages of the Champions League every year, just to stay still. Not to progress, not to bring more, better players in. Not even to pay off some of the debt – just to stay still.
And what’s the result of that ?
Poor players who should not be wearing the red shirt starting Premier League games – because we cannot afford to move them on ( for a profit – you know who I mean ) because the money will not be invested in the squad to replace them
Critical Substitutions – Torres and Benayoun were taken off yesterday because we need them to play in mid-week. Make no mistake about it, Rafa has been told that he has two priorities this year – Stay in the Champions League as long as possible this year, and qualify for it next year. The financial rewards of the Champions League make it a much bigger priority than the Premier League in our current financial state – the league is not a priority for the owners – and Rafa is doing what he has to and what he has been told to, to safeguard the future of the club as he sees it.
A guaranteed income stream for future years has been ignored and the mythical ‘spade in the ground’ is still a pipe dream, whilst Spurs ( for god’s sake ) are busy building theirs.
Decent Squad Players ( Crouch, Riise, Bellamy etc etc ) are sold on because we need to trade up. We are reduced to wheeling and dealing in the transfer market to compete ( Does that mean Harry Redknapp is the best manager for us at the moment ?! ). And then our squad becomes too thin.
Our best players are long term injured because we rush them back to quickly – Gerrard may have gone this way already, Torres I would put mpney on this happening.
Our best players leave in the Summer because they see no way in which we can challenge next year ( Reina, Gerrard, Torres, Mascherano, Agger ) as there is no investment in the team ( Sell Babel to pay for Reina’s contract – dear god )
Now ok, the last 2 are more predictions than truths. But consider – we have gone from selling players to buy better ones, to selling players to pay for contracts – how long is it before we sell players to pay off a rising debt ?
Rafa is doing the best he can. Whatever people may think about him, one thing is indisputable – he has the heart and soul of LFC within him – think of your own hurt recently and then imagine you are putting your entire life in to making the club successful only to have the rug constantly pulled from under your feet. Just for one minute, imagine Jose M at the club at the moment – he managed to talk himself out of a job when he was being given hundreds of millions to spend ever year – he would tear our club apart right now.
There is a reason that the kind of leveraged buy out is illegal in America. It is a gamble with a business, with people’s lives and jobs, and our heritage. The debt is the problem.
What can we do about it ? I honestly don’t know whether Share Liverpool, a Sheikh, or some serious, prolonged protest is the answer. But those of us who have quietly or even financially supported SOS and the like whilst not taking any serious action – the club as we know it will DIE if we don’t do something. Soon.
Sunday morning, and unfortunately, it is another defeat on which to reflect. London is rarely kind to travelling teams from Anfield, and again it proved our graveyard yesterday. It may be The Cottage but for the purpose of alliteration it was the Hallowe’en House of Horror. How could it all go so wrong in 6 days?
Despite having a squad in excess of 50 professionals, we lack the strength and depth required to compete in the league. This was evidenced yesterday, when injury and illness decimated our first team. Fulham’s 18 man squad was far superior than ours yesterday. Now we have suspension to add to the factors above.
Liverpool are going to appeal both red cards and hopefully they will be rescinded. Degen’s tackle warrented nothing more than a yellow card while Carra clearly won the ball. He survived against Utd when the case was made for him to walk only to be sent off yesterday for a perfectly timed and fair challenge. They do say these things even themselves out during a season but over the course of a week….
The sendings off were wrong but the errors should not be compounded by adding the 3 match suspensions that will follow. Lee Mason has the chance to correct his mistake when he submits his match report, so please Mr. Mason take a look at the VT!
Do not be fooled into thinking the dismissals were the cause of our defeat, we were 2-1 down before Degen got his marching orders. They contributed to the scale of our defeat but have deflected a lot of attention from our performance, they were not the reson for us leaving The Cottage empty handed.
Last Sunday, we fought for every ball and every blade of grass, had an extra yard of pace, and an extra ounce of strength when it mattered. Yesterday, we had nothing. Our heads dropped, not metaphorically but literally dropped. This is not what we expect and in defence of Benitez’s men it does not happen very often. But the question needs to be asked, where was the fight so obvious last weekend?
It would be very unfair to attribute blame after such a diabolical performance but Insua struggled and illustrated that he still has a lot to learn. Having had praise heaped on his shoulders in recent weeks, his lapses in concentration yesterday cost us 2 goals. Perhaps he needs sometime on the bench?
My last word is in defence of Rafa. He selected the best team he had available. He had take Torres off as he has been training/playing thanks to painkillers. We cannot afford to lose in for 6-8 weeks. He had to take him off. If, as has been promised, there is to be new investment in the next 6 months, I cannot see H&G putting up a big transfer kitty in January.
Be prepared for more of the same until May. If fourth place was offered now, I would take it. The league is gone, the league cup is gone and if we do not win in France on Wednesday the Champions League will be gone.
Through the wind and the rain…..