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From the Kop End

Anxious Anfield as Rafa ruffles the Liverbird feathers

Ejaz Khan

Crouch sizzles as Riise, Hyppia and Kuyt fizzle out. Is a cleanout on the cards at Anfield ?

Liverpool and Arsenal squared off at a wonderfully vibrant Anfield full of anticipation as the pressure mounts on the Reds to stand up and be counted.

The substitution at Everton had clearly had an effect on Steven Gerrard and shaken him up back into the superstar of old, The Gerrard we know can pull the strings and dictate a game from start to end. The Gerrard versus Fabregas encounter brought out the best in Stevie G, and Fabregas was not allowed to conduct the Gunner symphony but did orchestrate and finish a well-taken equalising goal.

Gerrard’s might have been overshadowed but he was not outclassed by any means. John Arne Riise teed up his skipper and Almunia had no time to even move, such was the quality and power of the strike. The goal set Anfield alight, and the Reds fans were back at their vociferous best cheering every tackle, getting behind every attack and shouting ”man on” like Rafa’s 45 000-strong team of watchmen.

Liverpool have the best supporters in the world, if you just give it your all, they will back you with all they have. And that is the biting truth as pointed out by my colleague Mamz Wadee. Lacklustre players like Riise, Sami Hyppia and falling star Dirk Kuyt have only to look back at their performances and see how little they give to their loyal supporters. Breadcrumbs most of the time.

One thing that has been irking me for a while is the constant blind support for Kuyt to start and indeed complete the entire game. The most commonly used phrases to describe Kuyt is “very hard working”. But Instead of working hard, he should be working smart. We have enough hard working midfielders, so he renders our strike force a man down when he comes deep and leaves a man less in the strike force to finish off chances. Yesterday Rafa asked him to do a role on the right, and boy did he do everything other than deliver. He is too slow, his first touch resembles my 14 year old cousin, and she hardly plays football. Come January, he is one of the players who just aren’t cut out for the New Liverpool post Yank takeover. Rafael Benitez should be able to show the same ruthlessness shown by the likes of Sir Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Indeed Arsene “the whinger” Wenger. All of these coaches have, at some point or the other, released or sidelined players who were deemed to be in effective, regardless of their “Fan Favourite tags or popularity amongst the players. We all remember Ferguson giving Beckham the boot(literally) and Van Nistelrooy brushed aside, regardless of being a goalscorer of note. He might be scoring goals by the bucket loads in Spain, but United have still managed to win the league without his services. Will Rafa be able to let go off a player he brought to the club, or will he feel obligated to make him a success, time will tell, but time waits for no man.

Moving on to another sore point, one which seems to be hitting a nerve with most Liverpool Supporters. The big or rather tallest debate of all, The Crouch Debate.
Why is Peter Crouch not in the starting line-up baffles the mind. The little drips and drabs that we’ve seen of him have been promising, and his impact upon introduction against Arsenal proved he is worthy of a start, and Liverpool looked far more menacing with him on the field. He held up ball, drove powerful shots from far out and linked up smoothly with Gerrard, who almost grabbed a late winner running on to a perfectly weighted chested ball from the lanky striker.

Benitez, all footballing expertise aside, seems to be losing his biggest asset, the fans. Visuals of Reds supporters shouting profanities at Riise and Hyppia doesn’t bade the Spaniard well. He needs to get it right before his tenure resembles Souness/Houllier proportions. Liverpool can certainly play the pass and move game, though somehow Rafa needs to get that aspect back into the training, alongside dealing with high balls for our defenders, which continues to expose our fragility at the back. Most supporters would have preferred to see Arlvaro Arbeloa fill in for waste of Space Hyppia occupies, or even let Sissoko take up the challenge for the cause of his team. One things for sure, Benitez will have to spend in January, and the cleanout should begin with Riise and Hyppia first on the list.Kuyt in a close third, but we will wait to see if Rafa will keep faith his off the pace “striker” – Penalty specialist for now .

All in all , another draw at Anfield, but against Arsenal, the best playing team in the premiership, all is not lost,yet.
Seeing Red supporters leaving earlier had better have caught Rafa’s eye, and its up to him to get back some momentum.
Rest assured that Rafa will not be resting assured. Anxious times, but a few wins on the trot and all will be forgotten.
Or will it?

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Comments (14)

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 6:20 am Reply

    I agree, Rafa needs to wield the axe now. Kuyt, JAR, Hyppia all need to go.

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 7:15 am Reply

    Pennant and Babel are equally useless. how the hell can you have both of them on the field at the same time???

    senile rafa

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 7:22 am Reply

    err none of them played on Sunday

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 7:51 am Reply

    liverpool stink, & u supporters only fuckin whine the whole time.

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 10:27 am Reply

    I thought Kut was one of the guys that actually played a part, grinding out and giving his all.

    How can you lads say he deserves to go


  • SETH
    October 30, 2007 at 10:30 am Reply


    What’s your view on the great Rafa rushing Tico and Fatty Alonso back?
    Surely with rotation supposedly keeping players fresh there isn’t a need to play players severely lacking match fitness?

    Plus he’s gone and injured them further.

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 10:32 am Reply

    Nice article again Ejaz.

    I think we’ve got to realise that Liverpool is a team of average players, except perhaps Gerrard, Carragher and Torres(the boy is class no doubt), punching above their weight.

    So, this whole hype about winning the league is just raising the fans expectations and placing extra pressure on the players. Over the duration of a season we cannot compete with the likes of Utd, Chelsea and now Arsenel(all credit to Whinger for the squad he has developed).

    Our manager is one not known for developing and nurturing talent, and he sure as hell prefers “hard working” “all round” players rather than specialists. I don’t see us going forward this way.

  • Simple Simon
    October 30, 2007 at 12:56 pm Reply

    to all liverpool supporters only, plz man scum stay out of this!
    what do you guys think should Liverpool make a bid for Micah Richards from Man City? i think he’ll be a good buy.

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 12:58 pm Reply

    Kuyt has to go dude! his not a goal scorer here in the EPL. you can play and run your ass off, but we need goals from strickers

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 1:26 pm Reply

    Rotation is rendered null and void when players get injured,because then its basically replacing a player with no other reason other than to fill the gap.Rafa’s been unlucky with injuries and forced to play goats like Riise, Kuyt and Hyppia.
    With Kuyt though, he won’t get any defending from me. He could play Crouch from the start.Kuyt is shite


    Ejaz KHan

  • ebi Kop End
    October 30, 2007 at 1:38 pm Reply

    Pennant and Harry Kewell also dude!
    we need to sell these okes and buy a class winger like Ricardo Queresma who will bring and add a different dimension to our attack!

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 3:47 pm Reply

    Simple Simon????
    Should Liverpool be buying Micah Richards??????


    Ebi Kop End?????
    Should LIverpool be buying Ricardo Queresma?


    You can never accept how shit you are but keep on hoping how you can be better and it always involves signing some1 else.

    How pathetic

    You guys are SHIT

  • azee
    October 30, 2007 at 4:04 pm Reply

    I dont believe this, when kuyt was bought he paid a decent amount of money for the guy!and a year and a bit later they want to sell him! Proves my point RAFA buys kak, or else buys guys without proper thought. His record for buying and selling is unsurpassed in the premiership

  • Anonymous
    October 30, 2007 at 4:05 pm Reply

    Thye were lucky agaisnt the gunners!


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