Yellow Submarine 

My week has disappeared on me, I thought I had time to put together two pieces for The Shankly Way this week. Just this one about Villarreal tonight then. With apologies to the gaffer and an empty office at 7am on match day, here’s some broken biscuits to chew on regarding the semi-final, second leg.They score one, we’ll need three. A variation on a theme from the United tie, though there is more hope for us in my mind, than there ever was for United.

The concern is the defence, there’s another piece in the works that I had hoped to have out before this game, but alas life gets in the way. The point of that piece is that we once more find ourselves not knowing what our best central defensive partnership is. Not so much through injury, but through the assumed stupidity of Mamadou Sakho raiding the medicine drawer without checking the label. I hope we’re all agreed that Martin Skrtel, can’t be anywhere near the pitch tonight. Indeed, I hope he’s nowhere near again this season. With that in mind, I’m expecting the original weight watcher that is Kolo Toure to be in the team with Dejan Lovren again. No problems here. Simon  Mignolet is back in goal, still unforgiven since Wembley in my eyes, no matter how many good games he has before the end of the season.

I’m not going to try and pick a midfield. Whoever is in there though will have to dictate the tempo and manage the game. More so than the young lads were able to on Sunday against Swansea. There has to be more intent from the middle to move the ball forward quickly. We have been slow in recent games, regardless of personnel. It feels like the injuries have left us rudderless, and lacking direction.

The injury to Big Div Origi, hasn’t helped a team that knew what to expect from the man in front of them. DanielSturridge doesn’t have the same work-rate and eagerness that his younger colleague possesses, yet he’s still our biggest threat in front of goal. The midfield’s unwillingness to play the early ball he craves, seems to make him look lazy and lethargic. People come away from the ground slating the lad, others offer mitigation in the form of his injury record. I like to think that there’s hope for him to stay here next year, but I’m not certain. Again, that’s a separate conversation. For tonight, I think he has to start, maybe even with Christan Benteke. That may be a step too far though.

The team have to play to their own strengths tonight, instead of sitting back and worrying about the opposition again. I’m hoping that the crowd will play the part they did in the last two rounds and we’ll coast to Switzerland. But as the song says “We are Liverpool”, and this season, being Liverpool has meant dragging every last second out of every last game in every last competition. I’m not holding my breath for a great show of force.

Villarreal’s manager has said that they won’t be negatively affected by the atmosphere in Anfield tonight. Challenge accepted. If we can cow the builders of the Yellow Wall, then the Yellow Submarine can be drowned out in a sea of noise. I instantly regret that last sentence, but I’m leaving it there to make the point.

A final thought, for a competition that inspired the kind of apathy that it did in the early rounds, it has also given us our biggest highs of the season. I would say more so than the league cup which for the most part can be captured by a series of penalty shoot outs. I’m hoping that tonight will give us one last occasion at Anfield this season, before a trip to Switzerland to stand outside the ground and moan about UEFA’s allocation system. In the meantime, I need to look interested and try to present to a customer without asking his thoughts on the game or bemoaning Mignolet. That piece will be out soon, with a lot more sense than this rambling shambles.

End of season blues

Klopp got it wrong! The youngsters are woeful! Sturridge must go! Sturridge must stay!

 These are just a few (heavily censored and corrected) tweets and missives I’ve read over the bank holiday weekend. The fan reactions are, as ever, well thought out, reasonable and positive. Ah, perhaps not.

 Liverpool FC has been in transition (I shudder at the phrase) FOREVER. Since the last league win anyway. It is a lazy description and one that needs eradicating from our lexicon. Liverpool is FC is trying its best. The manager is, the players are, and yes, the fans are too, mostly. There are some corners of the internet where supposed fans lurk in the nether regions of dismay and hatred, but I renounce them. I renounce them all.

Jurgen Klopp is a world class manager. WORLD CLASS. It is that simple. He’s new to our league and to our players. Now is the time for him to see what he’s got, and he’s fully aware of the strengths within the squad now, and those that remain will be the foundation of our rise to prominence (I am a fan after all so I do believe this). There will be players who know not to renew their utility bills for another 12 months. Sky Sports will have a few cancellations over the coming months, or at least changes of address, they might need the service to stay in touch with the game!

 I have my thoughts on the players included and omitted from match squads but they count for nothing when the whistle blows. I will support the team selected, it is my duty, it is the duty of us all! I like Teixerira, sorry but I do. If he goes then I’ll wish him well and get behind the next tricksy playmaker. Daniel Sturridge? Sheer class but not media savvy. I want him to stay, like I wanted Suarez and Torres (and Gerrard) to before him. Que sera sera, whatever will be will be, the memories will remain and Liverpool will move on.

 I think there’s a knockabout happening on Thursday. I can’t make it, it’s a shame but that’s life, but I will be watching: seated, crouched behind the sofa (like the last few seconds against Dortmund), running upstairs to shout ‘GOAL’ at my wife, pacing in front of the TV, praying, pleading, wailing and cheering.

This is Europe. We are Liverpool. This is Anfield. We go again.

What A Month

What a month it has been for The City of Liverpool, the team and Jürgen Klopp himself.

Hillsborough was without doubt the biggest cover up in footballing history, from the incompetence of the South Yorkshire Police, to the vile behavior of the so called Scum newspaper and the lies of its editor Kelvin Mackenzie and let us not forget its journalists too, who knew exactly what they were writing about on that fateful Saturday on 15th April 1989, when a day out at a football match turned into a nightmare that was to last for twenty seven years and still counting.


There will never be total closure and to be honest there never shpuld be, but now that the real truth is out and no blame attached to Liverpool fans on the day, we can all hold our heads high and say we were innocent of any wrongdoing and it was the people who were there to protect us from harm and keep us safe who were the real villains, and they should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for the lies theu told to the media and to shift the blame from themselves in their well paid jobs with a company pension, on to innocent working class football supporters who’s only reason they where at Hillsborough was to watch and enjoy a football match, and for no other reason.

People should be held responsible for the atrocities of Hillsborough, and there is no doubt that the people at the top who ruined so many lives that day should be made to pay for what they di. It’s not the ordinary Bobby or First Aiders who where to blame, but the top brass who should have known better,  and with years of experience who need to be held accountable. l am sure this will happen soon and quite rightly too. What happened at Hillsborough should never be allowed to repeat itself anywhere at any sporting venue.

The  respect of most football clubs in the wake of Hillsborough inquest announcements last week havs been exemplary, with the banners and minutes silences, and not just in this country. It has been a joy to watch and it’s good to know that we haven’t been forgotten even after twenty seven years of fighting for the truth and justice.


Well, on the footballing front….how well did we do against Dortmund? With one of the best comebacks seen in Europe in recent history, obviously with the exception of Istanbul, we just need to get a result now against Villarreal at Anfield, win the Europa League and boss the Champions league next season…easy, but nothing is easy being a reds it?

So what about the shrewd, no nonsense Jürgen Klopp, don’t let that smile fool anyone, he is a manager with a purpose, that purpose being to turn around a once successful club into a future successful club at any cost and no one is going to stop him, no egotistical overrated players, no underachieving players and no unfit players (even on a diet, wink wink), the turnaround of players moving on and new signings will start as soon as the season ends and not before time either, so heres to bigger and better times at Anfield….good luck everyone.