English Premier League / FA Cup / Liverpool FC

Liverpool is Royally screwed

It’s been a dreary week or two for the Liverpool faithful. Last Sunday’s game against Tottenham was postponed . . . on Thursday. Apparently, three days wasn’t enough time to get the snow out of the stands. More likely Liverpool, ravaged in body and soul, was eager to have a few more days to rest up (and not potentially slip a few more spots down the table), leaving them with ten days to prepare for the replay against my beloved Reading, some 34 positions below Liverpool in the English football pyramid.

benitez looks at his watch

tick tock tick tock tick tock

Of course, there were some distractions early this week when Tom Hicks Jr., son of Liverpool owner Tom Hicks and proud American, was forced to resign from the Liverpool board after he told a member of the Spirit of Shankly, a Liverpool supporter’s group, in an email to “Blow me fuck face.” Hicks and Gillette, the other Liverpool owner, might be just a few degrees below the Manchester United owners, the Glazer clan, on the Most-Hated-Owners-In English-Football-O’Meter and I, no Liverpool supporter, felt no sympathy for Hicks, Jr. When footage emerged of members of the Spirit of Shankly singing Munich air disaster songs at a party, the Massive-Doses-of-Hypocrisy-O’Meter began to level off as it so often does with the British press.

Then came Rafa Benitez’s admission that, if things got really bad at the Liverpool, Torres and Gerrard might have to be sold. This prompted assurances from a high level mouthpiece that such a thing would never happen and the promise of lots of money come the summer.

Meanwhile, back in winter, the well rested and presumably well prepared Liverpool team that met Reading on Wednesday featured all of the stars – by no means was it a weakened or reserve squad, causing one to wonder why only 31,000 people showed up for the match. Perhaps the otherwise faithful knew something was in the air because their team blew it losing 2-1. Hell, the only goal they scored was a Reading own goal.

On Thursday it was revealed that Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun had all suffered injuries during the match and will be out of action for six weeks, two weeks and four weeks respectively. Reading will now face Burnley in the next round of the FA Cup, although if you were a Liverpool season ticket holder who had just emerged from a coma and checked your email before checking the match report, you might think otherwise after reading this message, entitled “FA CUP: LIVERPOOL V BURNLEY (4TH ROUND),” which went out from Liverpool FC while the match was still underway. It was a friendly reminder that the Liverpool ticket office would “begin taking payments for the above game from Thursday 14 January . . . Payment failure and subsequent non-purchase of a ticket for this game in the competition will result in the removal from the scheme.” I understand there is a job opening in the Liverpool FC communications office if anyone is interested.

That an opening on the coaching staff is long overdue is a given to many. What is strange is that reports in the British press speak of the injuries to Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun as some kind of reprieve for Benitez. The club says that they believe Benitez is the man that can revive Liverpool’s fortunes, a bizarre twist in logic given that his team has lost ten of its last twenty games in all competitions. If Benitez can’t be blamed for further losses because three key players will be out of action, who is to blame for the ones that have happened when most of the squad was fit?

Beneath all of the jibber jabber about faith in Benitez is the very real truth that the club simply does not have the money to fire him and Benitez doesn’t seem inclined to quit.

At present the club is left to searching for new investors and making some cash by selling the likes of Babel. It will pick up players like Maxi Rodriguez relatively cheaply while crossing its fingers and hoping for the best. But, much like Manchester United, the club has lost its glow of invincibility across the league. They face Stoke away on Saturday and a victory for Liverpool is far from assured.

Update: Stoke scored in stoppage time to draw 1-1 with Liverpool.


  1. Another question arises here: Do you fire Benitez if you don’t have a replacement lined up? You can’t, can you?. You simply cannot fire Benitez without bringing in a manager with an equal pedigree; Torres would be gone and you would have to consider selling Gerrard – while he is Captain Fantastic, he also wants a chance to win trophies. And the fact is, few managers have won as much as Rafa. Unless you have Hiddink or Mourinho lined up, what’s an owner to do? Take a flier on an up-and-comer? Hire Juande Ramos?

    Liverpool is screwed on so many levels, but until Benitez is unemployed, us Reds must walk with him. It’s kind of our thing.

  2. The worst thing for ‘Pool fans is that, regardless of what happens with the coach, the odds of them finishing in the CL places to finish the season are getting worse and worse. Losing that money will be catastrophic. They need new owners, or Liverpool could be in for a very dark period, indeed–not just selling Gerrard and Torres, which would be bad enough, but not having the wherewithal to compete for the top spot for years to come. Not when Chelsea still has money (and no more debt), Man City is flush, and Arsenal seem able to compete even without any money to speak of (at least none spent by Wenger). The one silver lining this week might be that the other Manchester club’s financial woes are almost as bad. But then you have to worry about Villa! It’s just not looking good.

  3. Hi, we came here when i did a fast yahoo search. Nice post you got here! Keep it up!

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