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02-18-2013, 05:39 AM
Stray Wasp
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Deptford
Country: United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by nyranger61494 View Post
Was it this bleak during mid/late 1990s? It obviously took years but the club climbed back into CL and title contention after years. I am looking for silver lining here.
In the mid 90s, Liverpool had a young team. Unlikely as it might seem now, there was open debate as to whether they or Manchester United possessed the best batch of prospects.

David James was youngish for a keeper, Phil Babb was quite young as centre backs went and there was Rob Jones, Steve Harkness, Jason McAteer, Redknapp, McManaman, Collymore and Fowler. (Rob Jones played Giggs as well as anyone I can remember, he was an excellent, old school full back sadly prone to injury).

By the time it became apparent that some of the above weren't quite as good as had been expected, Owen, Carragher (who, at first, tended to play defensive midfield) and Gerrard emerged. Danny Murphy arrived from Crewe as well, with big expectations. The mood music was therefore very positive, even if the results weren't great. After all, sugar daddies were a rare breed then, so the financial gap between clubs was smaller. 30,000 per week salaries were few on the ground, as were 5 million transfer fees.

Liverpool is a great football city and the potential for success will always be there. The biggest threat to the club is a lack of long-term strategy.

In hindsight, bad as Roy Hodgson was at Anfield, Liverpool would probably have been better off letting him bumble through the 2010/11 season and replacing him with a young high-flyer in the summer of 2011. Instead, Kenny Dalglish brought a short-term boost and several long-term albatrosses. (I'll confess, I overrated Andy Carroll too and Downing was a consequence of signing Carroll. But there was a trace of logic about those mistakes. Paying a king's ransom for Jordan Henderson with the express intention of playing him in the wrong place was insane.)

It appears that the new owners hoped that by spending big in 2011, they'd catapult the team into the top four. In the event Dalglish failing, Plan B was to cross their fingers and hold for the best. Even allowing for Chelsea and City's successes, these kind of all-or-nothing splurges fail more often than they succeed.

When Benitez left, as an outsider it felt as if whoever came next was up against it. I think right now, anyone would find Liverpool tough to manage. Which manager can build a good team without a reliable core?

Liverpool are now a team in search of a core. A fading Gerrard, Lucas not back up to speed following injury, Henderson struggling under the pressure of his price tag, Downing ill-suited to the team's way of playing. Agger, Johnson and Enrique are all useful enough on the ball to abet Rodgers' possession style but defensively prone to meltdown. Reina's head seems gone. Carroll is not yet sold.

Rodgers took a big risk spending so much on Joe Allen and playing half a season with one striker. That decision was always going to define his first season. He hasn't done a great job, but he's gradually shaping the team to play his way. Maybe, like Roy Evans in the 90s, he can be a steady hand on the tiller who allows the club to shake off some of the melodrama that's weighed it down in recent years.

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