Halloween Horror Show
Tonight is the night when the ghosts of the past are supposed to revisit the earth. Little did I know that this was going to happen to my beloved team this afternoon? I rose from my sick bed this morning knowing that I just had to make the effort - I was at Anfield last Sunday and had hoped that the team would carry the momentum over and prove to all the sceptics out there that yes Liverpool were on their way back. Ninety minutes later I am sitting here, beginning to type this and wondering why my computer screen is still standing. What I witnessed was something I never what to see again. I have mentioned it before, but I believe Houllier's last season is beginning to haunt us again.
My doubts, I believe set in whilst I was finishing my dinner. There is nothing like choking on your last mouthful when Citytalk announced the team for today. The announcer even double checked because he could not believe it. Curiosity quickly became panic as the name Voronin came up in the starting eleven. I screamed at the radio forgetting I had a mouthful, hence I nearly chocked. Looking at the clock I realised I did not have much time and began to clear up, finally sitting down at 14.55.
The team given out was Reina, Insua, Degen, Carragher, Kyriakos, Kuyt, Benayoun, Mascherano, Lucas,Voronin and Torres. Subs: Gulacsi, Babel, Spearing, Plessis, Dossena, Eccleston and Ayala. This was it appears the best we had available due to injuries and viruses. The referee for the afternoon was Lee Mason.
The game started with Fulham kicking off and within minutes showed the crowd what sort of game it was going to be. The action started immediately with Fulham creating problems by marking Torres and ensuring that he knocked over several times. Liverpool very quickly though seemed to take control of the game with good passing play which unfortunately as expected was ruined by Voronin. That young man simply does not have a clue - Why kick a ball into an empty space? Then we had a couple of chances with Benayoun having a near miss. What happens next, our defence suddenly forgets what it has to do and Zammora scores Fulham's first of the afternoon. Was this down to laziness or was it down to our beloved Zonal marking? I laughed at this point, suddenly,
remembering a comment that a Liverpool Cab Driver made to me last week during our pre match banter. Zonal Marking, he said is just a term they use when they don't want to blame any individual player. I will admit to thinking about it for a few moments and can certainly see his point. The players quickly picked themselves up and our saviour rescued us yet again. Torres scored from a wonderful strike. The lads seemed to have regained their confidence and went in at half time level.
The second half started with Fulham making two substitutions immediately. If only this had sent the alarm bells ringing in Rafa's head. Fulham immediately started well and had some good passing play. Then the disaster which no one had seen coming, suddenly began to appear. Baird was awarded a yellow card for a bad tackle. Did this inspire the Fulham team to start creating havoc? That is a question I cannot answer? Watching the team, the only one that seemed to be totally disinterested in the game was Voronin. Does that lad know how and where to kick a ball - I honestly don't think so. Jamie then made a mistake which led to Zammora asking for a penalty , but thankfully was refused.
THEN IT HAPPENED - THE FIRST OF MANY STRANGE DECISIONS BY RAFA.
It had reached the hour mark when Rafa decided that TORRES needed to come off - Here we are drawing in a game that we needed to win and the manager takes off our only striker and replaces him with BABEL. This is another player who does not have any interest in playing for Liverpool Football Club.
The pace of the game was changed immediately and Liverpool seemed to lose the will to play properly. Suddenly the players that appeared to be doing well, became frightened lads, who appeared to have never played in a first team game before. Concentration gone, it did not take Fulham long to bring the score up to 2-1. I sat at this desk staring at my screen, screaming at Rafa and wondering if he really knew what he was doing. The team picked themselves up and then came bizarre decision number two.
Rafa decides to take off BENAYOUN- a player that has played extremely well for us recently and with Torres off could quite possibly have saved the game. He is replaced by young ECCLESTON who had only made his first team debut a few days before. By now I was absolutely furious. Rafa was making it abundantly clear that he stills cares more about the Champions League than he does the Premiership. We are at Lyon on Wednesday although I hate to say it, I don't think we will win that game. We now had two players on the pitch that were totally useless. Why on earth, had he not replaced Voronin with say Jay Spearing - who may be a youngster but believe me his heart is in the right place and he can certainly play better.
Pressure was now mounting onto my beloved team. They had lost their heart and seemed totally oblivious to what was going on around them. Suddenly this showed and young Degen got a straight red card. Liverpool were now down to 10 men. Would it get any worse I wondered? It did, Jamie went in for a tackle rather hard and the referee again produced the red card. I was shell shocked, cross and definitely not a lady by now. I had never seen such a disgraceful display in all the years I have supported the club. Then to add insult to injury rafa replaces KUYT with AYALA and guess what Fulham score again.
It is now two and half hours since the game finished and I keep getting emails and messages from fellow fans asking me why Rafa made such bizarre decisions and should he go. I have not given them straight answers because at this point in time I am far too angry to make an honest decision. Obviously I cannot answer the first part without talking to him - and believe me I would certainly love to do so. The second part of their questions, well at the moment I really cannot make my mind up about how I feel. All I know is apart from the win last week, we seem to be going backwards not forwards.
I do get this awful feeling though that Rafa does appear to still think that the Champions League is more important. To me, he should have kept all his senior players on the pitch until the final whistle, unless of course we were winning comfortably. You can bet that all three will start on Wednesday, will they be taken off then? I very much doubt it. I listened to his press conference and it was the same old excuses. He blamed it on the team's injuries and the virus that now appears to be attacking the club. Okay, that is fine to a certain degree, but those players that are left, first or second string, should know who they are playing for and that a 100% effort is required from them. The virus called LAZINESS AND CANNOT BE BOTHERED appears to be rampant and needs to be stopped.
My beloved club is gradually being dragged towards the abyss and I don't like it. Believe me I am extremely worried about its long term survival in more ways than one. Please Rafa, wake up, you need to make the players perform better and please realise THE SUPPORTERS OF LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB WANT THE PREMIERSHIP not the Champions League. Oh and Rafa I made a malt loaf whilst the game was on - that is now in the bin- because I was so engrossed in the disaster as it unfolded - that my loaf became one too.