Sport Soccer

Sunday 19 November 2017

Players must display passion for shirt to avert Anfield disaster

Alan Hansen

ROY HODGSON knows well enough that, the buck will always stop with the manager, but the truth of Liverpool's defeat against Blackpool is that the 11 players who started the game should be embarrassed.

They were wearing red shirts at Anfield and produced a totally unacceptable performance in a defeat that left Liverpool in the relegation zone. It was an embarrassment. Forget about the history and tradition of the club. Pride also comes into it, but, if the pride isn't there among the players, then there is not a lot of hope for the club.

Results are the manager's responsibility. Roy knows that and that is why he is now being subjected to criticism from the supporters. The owners have also left the club in a mess, so that is another big problem.

But it is up to the players to show that they have the passion to turn this around and that must start when they play Everton in their next game following the international break.

Let's not forget, Liverpool have a group of players who played in the latter stages of the World Cup this summer. Some even played in the final. So, when they are facing Blackpool at home needing to win to escape the bottom three, you would expect them to come out and roll Ian Holloway's team over.

That's not because Blackpool have just been promoted. It is simply because Liverpool were at home, they needed a victory and they should have taken Blackpool apart. It didn't happen. Even at 2-1 down, you expected them to surge forward and get something from the game, but Blackpool continued to be the better side.

It is little wonder that the fans' patience finally snapped after the game. After three to four years of unbelievable support, and last year, in particular, when they watched some absolute drivel, it reached breaking point with the defeat yesterday.

They have seen enough sub-standard football, enough rubbish. At some point, it becomes too much and that's why the supporters were so angry after yesterday's game.

Despite the disharmony on the Kop, Liverpool are not going to change a manager after seven games. They are not going to change him after another 10 games either.

It's not what Liverpool do and the people who are running the club know how it operates and how it has traditionally done things. The only way that a change will be made is if Liverpool are in the relegation zone at Christmas, but that won't happen.

Roy does need to change things, though. He must make Liverpool more adventurous and he has to inject some pace into his defence. He cannot be judged on the players he signed yet because it's too early, but you have to question whether some of those he inherited are good enough. I am surprised that Roy is playing Sotirios Kyrgiakos because he just does not have the pace.

David Ngog is a million miles from being an adequate replacement for Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt always falls short when asked to step up to the plate and Jovanovic is struggling. Torres doesn't seem to be getting any fitter and he is now injured again.


It all keeps coming back to Steven Gerrard, but one-man teams tend not to win much and Liverpool cannot keep relying on him to rescue them all the time.

Now is the time for everybody at Anfield to come together and throw their support behind the team, even if that means forgetting about the protests against the owners. It is vital that issue gets resolved sooner rather than later because the club needs investment and a new stadium, but we can talk about that until the cows come home.

Liverpool's managers have had money to spend, but the club's record in the transfer market in recent seasons, barring the odd exception, has been abysmal. Liverpool have bought players who cost more than the £8m that Tottenham paid for Rafael van der Vaart, so it can't all be the owners' fault. What about the scouts?

The team and the results are all that matter, but there is no defence for anybody at Anfield, be it the owners, the manager or the players. To get out of this mess, everybody has to pull together and that has to start happening straightaway. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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