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In light of Liverpools recent demise in form and the MANCS sudden resurgence we are aware that Liverpool seem to be in the perishaans (problems) Now I asked in weekly soccer round up whats happening. My sports correspandant Ejaz Khan wrote me a good post.

And then I realised that Yes that bald guy that you always see next to Benitez is gone. Now this guy always had that concerned look. He was to Benitez what Starskey was to Hutch and what Mohamed “Polony” Ackalwaya is to Mint Road Heart Break Hotel. Certain duo’s were devastating. How can we forget Sir Alex and Brian Kidd, Sir Alex and Mclaren. One can admit that there is a transition that takes place when your stalwart No.2 Man exits the club

Are Liverpool missing Pako Ayestaran?
Ejaz Khan

The tell tale signs show that Liverpool lack the cutting edge. Was Pako’s departure a bigger loss to liverpool players then admitted?
“You never know a good thing till its gone” – exactly the case at present as Liverpool seem to struggle in the aftermath of the departure of Rafa benitez’s former right hand man Pako Ayestaran. The fans never truly understood the importance of Ayesteran’s presence at Rafa’s side, well, no one- besides the players and staff alike. His role was to keep the players on top of their game, in both fitness and tactical levels. For those who are still struggling to identify who we’re speaking about- it’s the bald guy with the clipboard and shorts – who was always in Rafa’s ear. He was instrumental in deciding the starting eleven, he helped decide who lined up on the bench, and inevitably who would make the best impact when a change was needed. Benitez must be totally besides himself as how to resurrect his team back to winning ways, having drawn the last four outings, away to Portsmouth and at home to Porto, Birmingham and now Spurs. The latter should have been 3 points in the bag, as it was played at Anfield to a full house full of anxiety and ready to forgive and forget as long as they won. THIS iS ANFIELD after all… Apart from the first goal Against Martin Jols team, The players looked tired and weary, and seemed to lack the competitive edge which saw the Reds rise to the top of the premiership log in recent weeks, though with the 3 draws, that top spot standing was short-lived. It is of course very early days and Rafa might have felt that he could cope without his long serving assistant, but the tell tale signs are proving otherwise. Pulling of a scrappy victory at Wigan, and defeat at the hands (or feet,rather) of Marseille at ANFIELD which was Fortress Anfield on all fronts before the Marseille loss, only further confirm Liverpool are not able to maintain their high levels of fitness and tactical awareness as when Paco was around. The Reds gameplay seems uncomfortable and laboured, Rafa’s rotation no longer able to keep players fresh because frankly, they aren’t fresh to begin with.By Fresh we mean fully fit, physically and mentally up for the challenge and facing it with total optimism and belief in their abilities together with a keen desire to win, and win well. OK, it is debatable whether to win ugly is a developed skill or pure luck,but, If it is luck, then the luckiest team wins at the end of the season!Spurs are a wounded beast at present, and they were desperate for a win on Sunday. Liverpool came out of the blocks flying and it actually felt as if the Reds were going to win by a huge margin when Andrei Voronin put away Paul Robinson’s latest flap to give the Reds a (then) deserved lead.But when the second clear cut chance came abegging ,Voronin decided to lay off for Gerrard and Stevie G failed to finish I hoped that it shouldn’t come back to bite them, and as Murphy’s law goes, what you fear shall before you. Sami Hyppia was as agile as an elephant trying to win the header as Dimitar Berbatov won both flicks for in-form Robbie Keane to slot a brace past a clearly struggling backline who gave Pepe Reina no protection in those two incidents which ultimately dictated the flow of the game and Liverpool were chasing ball most of the time.Sadly as was the case with the Marseille game, the away side looked and played like they were at home! Liverpool are missing Daniel Agger badly and so too Xabi Alonso’s presence, for all his struggles with form this season, he;s absence can be felt too. Javier Mascherano, his exceptional defensive qualities aside, doesn’t seem able to attack as much and struggles to get forward into goal scoring positions, and with Stevie G yet to find his true form this season, both central midfielders are hindering any possible attack by not giving the wingers and strikers enough options, ultimately resulting in a breakdown before the final third of the field.This has been the case since the Birmingham draw at Anfield.Reina’s kick- and-hope- -for-the-best approach is starting to get to Liverpool supporters too, and he only threw out to his defenders after 70 minutes played. While Arsenal keeper did not go route one at all in their game against Sunderland.All negativity aside Liverpool remain unbeaten at Anfield in the Premiership, mostly thanks to a man whose name should be written first on every team sheet, Fernando Torres…with hardly any proper service for 90 minutes, he scores in injury time ! Just how important will that goal prove come end of the season ? His late skin-saving goal also spoilt Spurs 14 year wait for a victory at Anfield in that unbelievably high pressure moment asTorres rose above the pressure and ofcourse the defender tasked to stop him and placed his header into Robinson’s near post. The Reds are still better off this season though, and after the patience endured in seasons past, can remain optimistic, and weather the storm.The new players are finding their feet and when all falls into place, we’ll see the Red Horse pick up pace and finish off strong, because as we hear over and over its still early days… Stevie G showed some glimpses of improvement with his efforts on Saturday, and when he is on song, the rest of the team sings with him in perfect harmony, and with Rafa conducting his Red symphony to perfect synchrony, fans will be hoping NOT to hear the fat lady sing in this musical, and its upto the players to chase away the Reds fans blues… Unbeaten in the league, still unbeaten , thats the bottom line… All hope is not gone for elusive number 19

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Comments (22)

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 6:40 am Reply

    Great article Ejaz.

    Swoosh, you should get this guy to do some more reporting for you.

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 8:16 am Reply

    Nice article , well written even if he took bits from every article written about LFC in the last week.

    Nice one Ejaz

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 8:26 am Reply

    Well done good article Ejaz…Swoosh, think we should get a United correspondent as well. GGMU

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 8:47 am Reply

    Good article Ejaz however I think it is unfair to blame the departure of Pako solely as the reason of our recent dip in form .

    I think one of the main reasons is Rafa’s rotation policy.
    In recent seasons we had 11 good players mixed with another 11 average players who were all too happy to make up the numbers therefore there was never a problem with the rotation policy. Now we have a very good squad packed with full internationals and I think thats where the problem comes in . The confidence levels of some of these players who are often rotated are rock bottom . A season ago there was’nt a player in the league to math the amount of running and covering done by Mohamed Sissoko. Last weak he could’nt keep up with play.

    Crouch who was our top scorer last season can’t even get a game and even when he does play hes been crap.

    I think Rafa should sack his rotation policy and pick the best 11 and bring home that elusive 19th title.

    There is no doubt that Rafa has bought well but the loss of Alonso in the centre of the park has been instumental in the loss of form of Gerrard. Gerrard is simply not the same player when Alonso is not next to him . He does enough covering in the middle to allow Gerrard to get as far up as possible but ( with a lot of Dua ) he should be back with Agger for the derby game against Everton .

    I’ll still put my money on Liverpool FC to win the Title


  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 9:12 am Reply

    Good Article Ejaz but its a easy excuse to just blame this Pako guy, honestly i dont think Rafa has invested in top class players, for the money he spent he could have gotten better not only this season but since he arrived considering since he arrived he spent over 150million pounds, torres is class and i think a brilliant player but as for the rest of them i dont think they bring that much to the team from what i see but maybe they just need time to settle in but there’s no moments of brilliance, say what you want ronaldo produces some moments of brillince and you cant help but be astonished at the skill but no one really at liverpool does that apart from torres. Babel, let, voronin they ok but not world class and he paid top dollar for them and its his responsibility to make the right decisions and spend the clubs money wisely.

    Last season with your Pako guy you were well of the pace and not even anywhere near contention to UTD and Chelsea, reasons for this we wont go into but all im saying is maybe its more than pako thats the problem coz i think rafa’s a good coach but average he aint no ferguson, wenger or mourinho. He did win the CL and good on him but any football fan will tell you its consistency that counts and the fact that he never could consistently field a team to challenge for the league also says something but dont get me wrong CL is something but it has nothing to do with consistency and he aint a consistent manager who you can bet your house on. Look as long as you guys think you have the players and manager to take you guys forward thats good enough but i dont think it will happen coz you guys are waiting what 3 or 4 seasons for rafa to challenge for the premier league and just like last year you guys are already of the pace, i know its early but sometimes history repeats itself and with rafa and his rotation policies sadly i dont think its your guys year, im not saying this coz im a UTD fan but from a football fan he doesnt promote the attacking football and flair which makes this sport so beautiful instead defence is his main strong point, its a safer option i wont lie but when you one goal down and the shoes on the other leg the goals dont come and its evident already but as i said as long as you guys have faith in him and feel his the man thats all that matters and good luck catching us


  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 9:46 am Reply


  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 11:15 am Reply

    Slmz Guys

    Thanks for the responses
    Rafa e-mailed last night and asked maaf …
    As for GGMU I don’t plagiarise bru, I write my own stuff…

    Memz Wadee and I analyse in expletive form when Da pool play badly. Memz Wadee is my co-game analyst !


  • Swoosh
    October 10, 2007 at 11:44 am Reply

    In light of the article.

    Are the Men behind the Gaffers influential ?
    Point 2. Does a team going into a bit of a panic when the man at no.2 decides to leave for bigger teams. Remember Ronny Moran and the other manager behind Dalglish.I forgot his name. The combination was Sublime.

    So In a Nutshell Im saying Do the backroom staff and assistant play a massive role. Are they like the Makaleles and dont get recognised after doing the Dirty Work?

  • Swoosh
    October 10, 2007 at 11:46 am Reply

    Oh and I spoke to my other Anfield Correspondent who has been with me on the blog from the first article.

    Cisses words were.Relax No need to PANIC.LET RAFA DO HIS THING”

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 11:52 am Reply

    “go” get a new team to support!
    “go” get your own Carlos Queroz

    “the new go”

  • Punisher
    October 10, 2007 at 12:10 pm Reply

    like anon said….nice article….kak team

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 12:13 pm Reply

    Give rafa all the backroom staff he needs and all the players he wants he will never win the premier league!
    What a shit team, did you guys see hamann playing for man city, seems like good players come to anfield and turn out shit coz him and every other ex liverpool player (too many to name just think of anyone) leaves only to flourish under different circumstances…

    Liverpool you a bunch of useless footballers under a useless manager who doesnt know how to pick a team, maybe somebody from fantasy premier league should give him tips

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 12:14 pm Reply

    Good article
    Pathetic shit team who cant win a league title, wonder why????

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 12:20 pm Reply

    Excuses, excuses, excuses

    Learn to play football it might help, better yet just keep playing defensively and boring its not like you gona win a league anyway so why run extra

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 12:23 pm Reply

    How about Marion Jones?

    Always thought she was boosting. What a digrace.

    In the same way she was stripped of her medals, and the American relay team of theirs, so too should Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso be stripped of their points.

    There should be no tolerance of cheating.

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 1:19 pm Reply

    I bet all these comments coming from the red ibliss okes…

    When Anyone can say they`ve won more titles then Liverpool…I`ll listen…until then everybody is just second best 🙂 whether Liverpool are in a slump or not

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 2:36 pm Reply

    same old Coovadia , still can’t think for himself

  • Anonymous
    October 10, 2007 at 2:38 pm Reply

    Fair enough the guy is gone, but so too has morinho departed, and chelsea are coping, I mean they are not flying high, but at least the are winnin in europe.

  • Anonymous
    October 11, 2007 at 6:07 am Reply

    PAKI WHO ?
    liverpool are not championship material & all koppers know it deep down in their hearts.

    Just lookin for excuses blaming some paki ‘o

  • Anonymous
    October 11, 2007 at 8:04 am Reply

    Swoosh, Ejaz, how about an article on South African football. We’re always thrashing it out about Liverpool, Utd etc.

    Things back home seem to be in a complete mess, not just on a national level, but also in the PSL. Where are our development leagues. Who’s ensuring that the talent is being nurtured and that’s it’s going to the right places.

    Also how about some insight into 2010 and how preparations are going. Are the stadiums on schedule. Is our transport infrastructure good enough, will it be?

    Ejaz, articles on these topics?

  • Anonymous
    October 12, 2007 at 11:56 am Reply

    why not an article on JOSE AND DROGBA!


  • batia007
    October 14, 2007 at 8:58 am Reply

    i think rafa should quit with the rotation policy. this is england due. not spain. as for crouch, i think the mannager messed him up.but i think liverpool still got a chance for the premeirship. Lfc all the way

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