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Monday, February 23, 2004
Your verdict: Liverpool bashing

Dominic Raynor

Liverpool's failure to challenge for the Premiership title this season has seen manager Gerard Houllier heavily criticised and under pressure for most of the 03/04 campaign.

Following the Reds fifth round FA Cup exit to Portsmouth at the weekend the Frenchman said he expected to be 'slaughtered' by disappointed fans and the media. Not wanting to disappoint Houllier Soccernet readers have been sending their views to Email

Mr Gerard Houllier enough is enough. When was the last time your team put up a decent, let alone a commanding performance?

Every time you & this diabolical Liverpool team fail to deliver, you look to the injury list. Yet, you & your team were knocked out of the one remaining domestic competition this season by a Portsmouth team that played their hearts out. And that by the way, with a team they can barely play eleven fit players - such was the extent of their injury woes.

And to think that one or two of your key players in recent times had the audacity to suggest that on paper, man to man, this Liverpool team is better than Man Utd or Arsenal. Frankly, what planet are you guys on?

Mr Houllier, do yourself a favour and walk away. Wake up to the fact that your team have flattered to deceive for far too long, and you are not getting through with them anymore.

There is nothing wrong with the likes of Kewell, Owen, Gerard and Baros. They simply do not have a manager who can bring out the best in them. Much less the other mere mortals who make up the squad. The time to go is now. Now.

Red in the face Liverpool fan

As a long-suffering Liverpool supporter, I am continually amazed by those commentators and critics who express surprise at the latest poor result based on "the quality of the players" at Anfield. This is the point entirely - there is precious little genuine quality at Liverpool.

There's a lot of QUANTITY but as for true quality players there's really only Kirkland (when fit), Hyypia, Gerrard and maybe Owen (but not as a penalty taker). There's a few solid, workmanlike players every team needs in (Carragher and Hamman, and perhaps Heskey and Murphy) and some infrequent bursts of talent (Kewell and Baros) but the rest - and it's quite a list - are distinctly ordinary.

Into that category can go Dudek, Biscan, Henchoz, Riise, Traore, Finnan, Vignal, Diouf, Diao, Smicer, Cheyrou, Pongolle, Le Tallec. That's a whole team of mediocrity who are no better than no-name squad players from struggling Portsmouth, as the past week has shown. And almost all have been brought to Anfield by Mr Houllier.

Of course he should resign, or be sacked. And if Martin O'Neill wont leave Celtic until the end of the season, then the LFC board should do all it can to persuade Gordon Strachan to return to football management, if only for a few months. That way at least, there'd be a sense of vitality and, heaven forbid, FUN at Liverpool. Because no one's laughing now at Anfield.

Richard Ives

Gerald Houllier is losing the plot. At the end of last season, he predicted that Liverpool would be challenging for the Premiership this season. We are now sixth and face the possibility of missing out on the lucrative fourth spot which will culminate in the departure of Michael Owen.

Houllier has not purchased wisely in the transfer market. A lot of good money was spent purchasing mediocre players like Cheyrou, Biscan, Heskey and Diouf, who is a disgrace to Liverpool FC based on his actions off the pitch.

Chairman Moores should crack the whip and bring in a manager who is a better tactician and has a good eye for talent.

My apologies for being blatant, but it is time to go Monsieur Houllier. Let your love for Liverpool FC prevail. Let someone better bring us to greater heights.

David Lee

There has been incessant talks about removing Houllier. But I want to ask this all important question: Who is suitable to take over?

At the moment there does not seem to be a lot of managers who are suited to manage a club such as Liverpool. Alan Curbishly for all his achievements possess the unique abilities to bring together a crop of "small stars" to play for him and for each other. But he does not possess the track records of managing several bigger names in his squad. The same applies to Big Sam of Bolton.

So, only Arsene Wenger or Alex possess better managerial skills than Houllier. But we know these two are never going to go to Liverpool. But I have not heard of anyone talking about the current England coach. He would love to manage a crop of England international stars whom he has worked with like Owen, Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher, Danny Murphy, Chris Kirkland, Emile Heskey.

If there is anyone who can bring out the best from these players, then it could be none other than Sven Eriksson.


I think Houllier has got to stop complaining about Michael Owen missing 2 months because of injury as the reason for Liverpool's dismal scoring record this season. Even with Owen back, he has missed a number of sitters, including the penalty miss against Portsmouth.

It is high time Houllier sells Owen and use the money to invest in a decent striker and central defender next season before the value of Owen plummets further. Take Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke for instance. They were red hot for United for a couple of seasons but the moment their form declined, Ferguson sold them and got Van Nistlerooy.

Jaspal Gill

I feel that the board should take some of the blame. Despite a successful 2001 Liverpool have constantly disappointed and the board should have taken action sooner. Axing Houllier now would only unsettle key players like Owen who are in the final years of their contract and it might be the excuse they need to move on.

The fact is that Houllier came to Liverpool with the greatest set of home grown players since the glory days and he's wasted the best chance we will probably ever have....and in the process he seems to have spent upward of 100million. If Owen now goes it will generate 20 million at most - less than he wasted on Heskey and Diouf let alone the money spent on the countless stop-gap strikers he's bought it along the line.

Owen, Gerrard, Fowler, McManaman, Thompson, Matteo, Carragher could have been the backbone of the team for years and fringe players like Mellor, Wright, Otsemobor, Welsh, Partridge could have bolstered the squad without spending a penny. He also had James, Redknapp and Murphy when he arrived - that's 15 quality players - 5 world class.

He cant be viewed as anything BUT a failure I'm afraid Its time for him to go and time the board put their hands up and apologised.


Not just out of touch GH, but the squad of impostors that call themselves players that pull on that sacred shirt. They haven't a clue of what is expected, no demanded of a Liverpool footballer. With few exceptions, mainly Gerrard and Hamann, there's not a one of them worthy of running onto Anfield as a representative of that great club.

Take head Board of Directors. It's time to "clean house" from GH on down!

Charlie "BamaRed" Parker

Here we go again. Houllier making all sorts of excuses. He says he can't blame the players. Then whose fault was it that we are out of the FA Cup? It was the players who should have won the game at Anfield - but didn't. It is about time Houllier woke up and called it like it is.

Michael Owen's penalty was one of the weakest I have ever seen. He is definitely not on his game. If his mind is elsewhere then leave him out. We've done without him for a long spell this season already (and last season and the season before, etc.). If he wants to go then let him go but play him in the reserves for the remainder of the season and give somebody else a chance. Somebody who is prepared to pledge their future to Liverpool FC.


I think it is about time Gerrard Houllier stop giving excuses that Liverpool failure to win is due to injuries to his players.

Portsmouth had more than 14 players injured/suspended and yet they are able to beat Liverpool in the FA Cup last night. If Liverpool is unable to beat Portsmouth Reserves, what right do they have to play in the European Champions League.

Andrew Eu

How can you disagree with the results? I've been steadfastly in favour of not sacking Houllier, but I cannot defend the indefensible anymore - and neither can Gerard.

Gerard - You've gone as far as you can with the side - we must act now or we'll spend another eternity in the void a-la Evans - nice bloke and well meaning, but could not take it on to the next level.

As to who to appoint...not O'Neill for a start! (what's he done?) My managerial dream team would be John Toshack with Steve Heighway as assistant. At the moment, even Howard Wilkinson could do better!

Justin Wheeler

A once so proud football club has become the laughing stock of the entire Premier League, if not in all of Europe. The "so called progress" that we have made during the last two years is non existent. I can't even be bothered to go see the games anymore because they bore the sh*'t out of me. I'm just happy I'm not a season-ticket holder at Anfield, as I only can see the games on the telly, for that would be considering a waste of money.

It's not about being able to support through the lean times, we have had our share for the past 13 years, but the issue is the style (?) of football that frog-manager has imposed on us. It is so negative and so destructive, I'm so fed up with these tactics. We were once the masters of the game renowned for our attacking and fluent football, this being the reason for me starting to support the team, now we're just a joke!

I never thought that I would come to the stage where I actually loathe a person working for my club, but Houllier is certainly worth it! Not even Evans or Souness could make me so mad!

Joacim, Swedish Red

Exactly as I said last time - Houllier is in a time warp whereby he thinks it's good enough to pump the ball up to Heskey and hope that someone (ie Owen) is around to score. This is "Roy of the Rovers" stuff from the 60's and little wonder that Arsenal, Man U and now, even Chelsea look like they are whole generation ahead of us in terms of to approach the game.

No point scoring none or one and hoping you can keep the opposition out for 90 minutes. The good teams today believe they can (and often do) score 2, 3 or 4 and so letting one in isn't a big issue.

If Houllier stays then the sign in the tunnel should be re-painted to say "This Was Anfield".

Ian Clarke

The biggest trick that has been pulled in football is when Gerard Houllier came to Liverpool, he came to a team that was playing flowing attacking football and finishing in the top three with ease each year but now we seem to be thankful and excited by the fact we can finish FOURTH!

While teams around us have been building and buying quality players we have bought potential that has never flourished, with the exception of a couple of players (Richard Ives that has also wrote in) we have got over 50 million worth of garbage, not good enough! Give the job to who it was meant to go to before you Gerard - Steve Heighway.

Very dissapointed Liverpool Fan

  • Also, the Insider's report from Old Trafford has angered many of our Australian readers ....

    I have to take exception with one comment made regarding Mark Viduka being suspended for the Leeds clash against Man Utd in your 'insider' comments on 'Key striker Viduka was also banned after FIFA invoked a suspension - harshly - after he missed what the Insider considered to be Australia's meaningless friendly with Venezuela in midweek'.

    If 'the insider' had some insight into Australia's qualification road for the 2006 World Cup, then he would realise that Australia, a national team with a huge potential given the top 11 players it can put out on the soccer field, has one of the hardest and unfair roads to qualifying for the World Cup. After topping what admittedly is a mediocre group in Oceania, it goes into a sudden death home and away play-off with the 5th placed South American team. And anyone following closely at the moment knows full well, that there is a chance that the opponent could be Venezuela.

    So having said that, and with the difficulty that national sides from outside South America have always faced when travelling there, it is a very tall order. Venezuela and Australia both knew this, which is why it was far from a 'friendly' encounter, and both wanted full squads to be in action because of this. It was not on the 'other side of the world' either, but over the other side of the Atlantic, and just over the equator.

    If people want to use the travelling excuse... well it doesn't seem to have bothered Marco Bresciano who scored in the games before and after (on the weekend just gone) for Parma. Viduka had already played 2 games since his return, I am sure as a poaching striker he could have made the trip.

    Meaningless friendly ? With the number of opportunities the Australian Football team get to be together, they have to make the most of every game.


    Listen up. I am an avid reader of Soccernet from Australia and I take issue with your comments about 'Australia's meaningless friendly with Venezuela in midweek'. You obviously know little about Australian soccer -and remember we beat you 2 nil last time we played you.

    Because we get such a raw deal with FIFA in qualifying for the World Cup we have to qualify through South America in a home and away series after they have played a long series themselves. Our toughest game in against New Zealand. In other words, the South American team is battle hardened by the time they get to us and we've had very few hard games.

    The Venezuela game was therefore talked about at length as very significant because as things stand we may have to play off against Venezuela for that World Cup spot. Does that explain things adequately enough for you?

    Stephen Newman

    Australia vs Venezuela was anything but meaningless. The manner of Australia's surrender to Uruguay in the World Cup qualifiers last time around showed that this side needs to understand how to approach an away game in South America. That is what this game was all about.

    And while I feel very sympathetic to Viduka - someone who has a good record of commitment to Australia, and unlike others was both truthful with the Aussie authorities (ie - was not 'injured' but ok to play w/end before AND w/end after like some OTHERS) Australia is affected more than most by the whole club vs country saga.

    The Aussie Association has to draw the line in the sand, and whilst I am personally sorry it was Viduka and not those OTHERS, I am still glad they have done it.

    Ian Robertson

    You have now twice referred to Australia's friendly with Venezuela as meaningless. I believe this to be degrading to both the Australian team and its supporters. If Australia cannot play a friendly match in a designated international period when are we going gain experience as a team.

    We are not as fortunate as European nations to have top opposition on our doorstep and if we are to qualify for the World Cup in Germany then these games are of vital importance.

    Despite the fiasco that is the Viduka and Chipperfield suspensions it proved to be a good game on South American soil which will be a test come World Cup qualification again. Despite the lack of some of our top players we proved that we do have a depth of talent that can compete with most nations. But I suppose you refer to any game Australia plays as meaningless so you can try and forget the thrashing we gave you last year.

    Wayne Clingan

    In both match reports for the most recent weekend of the Premiership, The Insider, managed to work in snide comments about Australia's 'meaningless' friendly against Venezuela. For an international side that play so few meaningful internationals (World Cup qualifying campaigns against the likes of Fiji and the Solomon Islands notwithstanding), any friendly that can be arranged against respectable opposition is of great value.

    When you consider that in 18 months an Australian side will be required to defeat the 5th place South American qualifier (currently, you guessed it, Venezuela) over home and away legs, surely this match takes on great meaning. Very few of the Australian side will have had any experience playing in South America beyond the embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Uruguay in the lead up to the last World Cup.

    It is high time that some respect was given to international games outside of Europe.


  • Also, tributes to John Charles....

    As kid growing up in Leeds, I was lucky enough to see John Charles play many times. He almost single-handedly took Leeds into the 1st division in 1956 and almost won them the championship before moving to Italy. The skill, power and, above all, sportsmanship shown by the big Welshman was an inspiration to all kids watching the game in those days.

    If there were more players like him in today's game, what a really great game it would be. Can you imagine not being booked in a whole career?

    Frank Martin

    A tremendous loss to the world of sport and football in particular. Along with Ivor Alchurch the greatest of all Welsh Players and worthy to be in an all time British side and possibly a world side. How these people like John Charles will be missed.
    Richard Raybould

    John was indeed a 'gentle giant', arguably the best player of the era in which he played. Saw him beat Wolves single-handedly when Leeds were promoted to the old First Division and that was the time when Wolves had a number of international players on their side. Oh that soccer could be played in the spirit in which John played. Condolences to his family and the soccer world, he will be sorely missed.
    Bryan Drew

    When I was a kid growing up on the outskirts of Leicester during the mid 50's, I use to emulate 'King John' when we played a pick up game in the streets or in the park. He truly was a gentle giant and a great gentleman, we will surely miss him.
    Rob Bishop

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