Dear Mr Henry,
Firstly I would like to go on record and thank you with the utmost sincerity for rescuing the club from administration at the 11th hour a couple of years ago. I think I speak for Liverpool supporters from Breck Rd to Boston when I say we suffered greatly under the previous regime of Hicks and Gillett. They arrived with lots of big promises and failed to deliver the vast majority of them. This has taught us to be very wary of statements from owners and managers alike.
Kenny Dalglish is a Liverpool legend and although the performances in the league last season were not what anyone connected with Liverpool would have hoped for, he did steer the club to both the FA and Carling Cup finals, winning the latter. There were also signs that, in time, the league form would have improved as the team took on an attacking style of play and they dominated possession in many games. If we had added a proven, top class goal scorer we would probably have finished a lot higher up the table. The fact that the club still hasn’t added that player to the squad is obviously disappointing. If there is one type of player we need it is a natural goal scorer. You will therefore understand we are disappointed that this kind of player was not acquired in the transfer window before other players were allowed to leave.
It was a massive call to replace Kenny and an incredibly brave one. In Brendan Rodgers there’s no doubt that the club has a talented young manager. But the team has been dealt a tricky opening set of fixtures and the next two games against Sunderland (away) and Man Utd (at home) are extremely difficult. Supporters will recognise this but should we lose badly to United at home we will be incredibly unhappy. Losing to them at all is horrible for us fans but if we were humiliated it would be sickening.
The manager will inevitably need time to instil his beliefs and get the players to adapt to his style of play. And while there have been some encouraging signs already, it’s fair to say that yesterday’s performance against Arsenal was awful and, with all due respect to West Brom, a 3-0 defeat to a team of their stature is not good.
What’s worrying is that many of the problems at the club under previous managers, both on and off the field, are sill evident. Specifically we need iron out the following problems:
1. Transfers. I understand form a business point of view there are limits to what we can afford to pay when buying players. But in addition to not overpaying for players, we need to stop allowing players to leave for less money than they are worth. Allowing Charlie Adam to leave for almost half what we paid for him a year earlier is madness. Over the years we have repeatedly lost money when selling players including McMananman, Owen, Keane and Aquilani, to name a few.
2. A goal scorer. It’s fair to say that since Torres left we have failed to replace him with someone who will score 20 or 30 goals a season. Liverpool have been lucky enough to have some great natural goal scorers over the years such as Rush, Aldridge and Fowler. Whilst Borini looks like he has the potential to score lots of goals, he isn’t proven and the fact that we haven’t added this type of player when we have been desperately lacking one for the last two seasons doesn’t offer much encouragement.
3. Players getting in the box. This point is linked to the previous one. A natural goal scorer like Robbie Fowler would get into the positions that other players wouldn’t. These types of players have a knack of being in the right place at the right time. But scoring goals isn’t about one player getting into the box. When you watch successful teams attacking they have several players in there, looking to get on the end of the ball. Too often we only have one player in there which means any pass has to be perfect and it’s a lot easier for teams to defend against. This has been a weakness of ours for too long.
4. Closing players down. Again this is a problem that has existed for a while now. Our defenders don’t seem to close players down. Often they allow the opposition to run 20 yards from the half way line with the ball. It happened several times in yesterday’s match against Arsenal where players, notably Diaby, were invited to run at our defenders. This is surprising because Brendan Rodgers likes his players to press when they don’t have possession but our defenders are still doing it. This gives players the chance to shoot from inside the box, and even if they don’t score it often leads to penalties or corners. We shouldn’t be allowing the opposition to run at goal with the ball. It’s better to make a challenge further up the pitch rather than wait until players are inside our penalty area.
I hope this letter is taken in the manner with which it is meant. I believe both you and Tom Werner have the club’s best interests at heart and I don’t mean to insult you in any way. But when you bought Liverpool Football Club you said you wanted to hear what the fans were thinking and this is how I feel. I’m only writing this because I want the club be successful.
A life-long Liverpool supporter