Liverpool Thoughts & From The Vaults: 1992

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Morning all, the last Saturday before Christmas and we face…the crowds of shoppers searching for the last bargain. Today’s musical offering has the solution; let your partner do the shopping whilst you listen to Lost in the Supermarket (here and in the right sidebar on Dad’s Jukebox) and you too will share their experiences.

Tomorrow’s fixture is a strange one to look forward to. It’s Liverpool, traditionally a big fixture that seemed certain to regain some of its allure following both clubs endeavours last season. The anticipated advances haven’t been made, essentially for the same reason: lack of investment in the respective squad.

Money was spent in both cases. How wisely is the judgement that hindsight passes down. In any other season, the footballing fates might have given Wenger and Rodgers the benefit of the doubt; injuries might not have happened and Balotelli could be a great signing. OK, neither is ever likely to happen, history tells us that already.

It’s old ground for us to cover and I am sure Liverpool supporters feel the same whenever the subject is aired. For them, that aspect of the game is more acute. The man Brendan Rodgers identified as being the solution is lining up for the opposition.

Instead of having Alexis Sanchez available to replace Daniel Sturridge or the misfiring Mario Balotelli, the Liverpool manager faces the prospect of playing Raheem Sterling centrally. You wonder if Rodgers would have preferred the Italian to have signed for Arsenal. Wenger was quick to point out that it was a media story rather than reality.

I am not sure who was more insulted by his statement though,

No, you linked [Balotelli] with me. We have the type of presence up front with Olivier Giroud and Yaya Sanogo. We have players of that calibre.

Giroud must be wondering why he’s been lumped in with those two and if Balotelli doesn’t take being compared to Sanogo as a kick up the Arsenal, nothing will do that. In fairness to the French youngster, he too might think, “I’m not that bad” with his record of 1 goal in 5 better that the Liverpool strikers 2 in 15.

The change in tactics worked for Liverpool last weekend at Old Trafford where the scoreline – not the victory – flattered Manchester United; Sterling might have had a hat-trick but for De Gea’s outstanding performance. It was an experiment that worked at Bournemouth. Whether they will be as effective in a home match where the emphasis is on Liverpool making the running rather than hitting on the counter-attack, remains to be seen.

The concern for Arsenal is that the same frailties which were exposed at Anfield and Stamford Bridge in quick succession, resurfaced at The Britannia where a soft early goal led to what proved to be an irretrievable three-goal deficit at half-time. Different season, different excuses, same outcome. The lessons for Arsenal remain painful.

Both managers spoke highly of Sanchez with Arsène pointing to the continued presence of the club in the Champions League as a reason for the Chilean and other players joining the club. It’s a virtue, certainly, and one of the few positives of finishing in the top four.

A meandering thought is whether that consistency of participation whilst attractive, is as much of a barrier. Arsenal have only threatened to win the trophy twice; as much as players want to play in the competition, the élite want to win it and move to clubs where they believe that to be a realistic opportunity. Of course the decision to move is more complex than just that, this is just one aspect to be considered.

Still if Sanchez and Özil the peak of players that the club can attract, it’s not a bad level to be at. More’s the pity that at the moment, the squad is suffering from the lack of depth behind them.

Whilst Arsène is concerned about the impact of Aaron Ramsey’s absence over the next fortnight, the deeper concern is that without the quick arrival of new signings, Arsenal are simply storing up problems by being unable to rotate those who have played in a significant percentage of the matches this season.

Wenger will find out today if Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is able to make the trip. It’s a difficult question to answer. The midfielder isn’t fully fit and the question then becomes who replaces him. Yes, he could start but that is a risky proposition with the type of injury he has.

Any damage inflicted could have longer term implications; Theo Walcott has suffered once already on his comeback trail so he will need to be managed carefully, as Arsène seems to be thinking by his indication the England international won’t feature at Anfield.

I am sure that Arsène would have preferred Tomas Rosicky to be back in training rather than be considering how to shuffle the pack. It’s the lot of the manager to take calculated risks; anything that goes right is proof of genius, that the mojo is back or simply emerged from behind whichever bushel it was hiding.

The opposite also holds true. Politicians understand the way that a manager’s popularity fluctuates, probably grateful when a high-profile club endures hard – or harder – times as it keeps them out of the headlines for a short while.

As a supporter you just have to hope it is a situation the manager has addressed, identifying targets and others at the club have the deals in place. We’ll find out soon enough.

FROM THE VAULTS

One from the first Premier League season, 1992-93. Arsenal had endured a miserable start to the season, even if it perversely started brightly enough. A two-goal half-time lead on the opening day ended with four unanswered Norwich goals in the second period followed by a deflected Alan Shearer goal at Ewood Park three days later. As with his hat-trick for Southampton against Arsenal, that balmy summer evening was his full home début.

Fortress Anfield? A win to get the season off and running. Exactly what the doctor ordered happened thanks to Parlour and Wright. This then, how The Guardian reported the match

’til Tomorrow.

Liverpool 24081992
click to enlarge

 

27 thoughts on “Liverpool Thoughts & From The Vaults: 1992

  1. Limestonegunner says:

    Fingers crossed AW is lining up targets in defense and midfield for early in the window. By the time Hull in the Cup arrives we could still be missing Arteta, Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil and have lost the Ox. Rosicky and Flamini holding down the fort. Diaby is lost in a black hole since I saw him in the league cup.

    If Ox were to rest, what would the lineup be? Flamini plus Chambers? Is Kos definitely out?

  2. SV says:

    Arsene: I’m not sure Liverpool were in [for Sanches].

    Someone must be trolling here. Either Rogers trying to invent a fanthom transfer failure to distract from his team’s performances, or Arsene trying to convince everyone there is no story here.

    A tricky game, this one. Knowing our tendency to kick start our rivals’ seasons… I would take a draw right now.

  3. Limestonegunner says:

    No, we need a win if we are to improve on a pretty indifferent first half. We have the makings for a good run but only if we go and beat a struggling Liverpool.

  4. spy says:

    Ryan Shawcross said on skysport about Arsenal,
    ‘They don’t like us, and we don’t like them.
    Fair enough.

  5. C says:

    So if Ox is out injured then i would imagine we would see a combination of Flamini and possibly Santi with Sanchez as the #10 with one of Podolski or Campbell hetting the nod.

    I like LSG hope we have a midfielder and a defemder already in the works for whem the window opens because we are in need. Evem if Arteta is deemed fit, i wouldn’t put money on him remaining as such given his age and recent history.

  6. Bill says:

    YW. Thanks for interrupting your weekend to give us another great post.

    Liverpool are in crisis right now and we are starting to get on a roll. It was inevitable that our form would improve and our crisis would fade. I doubt the same thing will happen to Liverpool. I would not be surprised if Rodgers is looking for a new job next summer. I expect a reasonably comfortable win tomorrow.

    If you look at our midfield on paper we probably as much or more depth as any club in the world. Trouble is I think would not get much argument if you would classify Rosicky Arteta Ramsey and Wilshere as being injury prone. It’s no surprise that any of them are injured although I guess you could say it’s a bit of bad luck that all 4 are out at the same time. Throw in a random unexpected injury like Ozil and suddenly your midfield does not look all that deep.

  7. SV says:

    @Bill
    Our crisis did not fade. It’s just hidden under the surface and one bad result away from popibg up again.

    We lost 3 out of our last 6 league games. I would like to see the “run” everyone is talking about.

    Tomorrow, Rogers will again try to start in a powerful way with pace, pressing high up the pitch and using the crowd energy.

    It’s crucial not to commit a game decicive error like a red carded offence. Even if we just go one goal down, the game is still not lost, so just stay disciplined and concentrated. We’ll find our passing after 30 minutes or so. Then just pass it to Sanchez who will find onrunning Giroud and Welbeck.

    I would like Arsene to prove his doubters wrong and win a big game. Just not holding my breath.

  8. SV says:

    The thing is we are aware of our rivals’ weaknesses, but so are our rivals of ours. Having seen our last away game at Stoke, Rodgers will see a blueprint for his team and try to overrun us in the first 15 minutes. Does Arsene have something to anticipate that and respond to that? Or will he just try to start in an ordinary half relaxed manner?

  9. Bill says:

    SV

    Hiding any crisis under the surface is all that is required to maintain the status quo.

    I agree with C that a CB and DM would be ideal. Not getting a CB could potentially put 4th place in jeopardy if Kos continues to struggle with his chronic injury and I fully expect Arsene to address that issue in January. Hopefully he will get a good player and not just an inexpensive Squillaci equivalent.

    Adding a DM is not likely to be crucial for this season so I don’t expect anything other then possibly a last minute loan deal similar to Kallstrom if Arteta is still injured. I think Flamini’s contract ends after this season and I certainly hope we don’t give him another. There are literally dozens of players who could add some athleticism to the squad and do an adequate job as DM so it shouldn’t cost that much.

  10. C says:

    The thing with us against Liverpool, just like Manure, Shitty and Chavs is that mentally in the PL no matter how bad their form is or how shit their teams look, we can’t seem to take all 3 points off them. Manure thr past 2 seasons have been shit yet we cant beat them, Liverpool we got destroyed especialy away at the Kopp, Shitty this season werent in good form ans we had to eek out a draw.

    I just want whoever he puts out their to really put on a performance and nab all 3 points for Arsenal.

  11. Bill says:

    C

    i can’t be bothered to actually do the research but I think our record against Liverpool over the last 4-5 years is reasonably good. We had that complete mental meltdown at Anfield last season but we hit them at the absolute top of their form and we were in the bad part of our season that ended our title challenge. Interestingly it was only about a week later that we were able to win 2-1 against them in the FA cup game.

  12. C says:

    @Bill

    Yea we did beat them in the FA Cup but i was more speaking to how we play against teams around us and the inability to rise to the occasion in the PL, especially when we are playing away from the Emirates.

  13. Bill says:

    You could argue that Man City are in the midst of an injury crisis. All 3 strikers are out and their captain and defensive talisman Kompany is out. Silva has been in and out of the line up. Today they started 6 midfielders and still won 3-0. They and are on an 8 game win streak. They had the World Cup and they also had the post PL title mental letdown and all the injuries to deal with but they are now level on points with Chelsea although chelsea has a game in hand. You could argue that they have a squad full of expensive player but if you compare the squads I don’t think on paper their squad players are that much stronger then ours. Guys like james Milner or Jesus Navas and Nasri are nice players but not superstars. The difference comes down to mental toughness IMO.

  14. Bill says:

    C

    As you know I don’t think we have the quality in our squad to compete with city or Chelsea over the course of a 38 game season. That said, any difference in overall quality does not explain just how incredibly poor our record is against the big 3. That comes down to lack of mental strength.

    We are already out of the league title race so there is no reason for us to mentally melt down tomorrow which is good. However, we have a little more then 1/2 the season to pull ourselves back to 4th place and the results tomorrow are not really going to change anything about our final table position and Liverpool are in crisis mode right now and playing at home so in theory they should be ready to rumble. In the end I don’t expect another stoke like letdown and I think we will win.

  15. Jonny says:

    How the fuck did we not beat Man Utd – an undeserved draw against 10 man Aston Villa…

    Well it gives us something to play for tomorrow, eh? 😀

    Afobe up to 19 goals for the season with MK Dons who absolutely trousered Oldham – he looks a MUCH better player than Sanogo.

    We should definitely take Liverpool tomorrow – they are even worse than Man Utd, FFS!

  16. consolsbob says:

    Yep, a win brings us closer to West Ham, Jonny.

  17. SV says:

    If we do not win tomorrow, we are behind the Tots.

    (… a sobering thought…)

    If that’s not an incentive to win I don’t know what is.

    If we lose, we may be overtaken by Newcastle and end up 8-th. In December…

    Crisis fading? Good run? Top four as always in the pocket? You must be joking…

  18. SV says:

    Having said that, if we win, the Pool are in real trouble.

    So, let’s send them home packing like in 1989.

  19. Bill says:

    SV

    If we lose tomorrow the pressure starts to ratchet back up again but we still have more then 1/2 of the season to go and 4th is not really in jeopardy. IMO.

    Last year we were in 5th behind an in form Everton team with only 5 games to go. In 2012 and 2013 we were 8-9 points out of 4th in Feb and those Spurs teams were significantly better then this years challengers. We were in 5th behind Spurs on the last game of the season in 2006. The point is that we have faced bigger mountains to climb with fewer games left in past seasons and we always came thru. Anything is possible but I believe will find enough points to finish 4th. I don’t see any realistic chance that West Ham, Southsmpton, Newcastle Spurs or Liverpool are good enough to hold us off over 38 games.

  20. nicky says:

    @Spy,
    Re your 1.22, Shawcross claims that Stoke dislike Arsenal and vice versa, but fails say why. So let me give him an Arsenal view.
    We dislike him for being a practising thug , who should have been banned from the game years ago. If there was any justice in sport, he should have been prosecuted in the courts for his thuggery on the field, on many occasions.

  21. SV says:

    @Bill

    Let’s hope you are right.

    But I do not remember another season when we were that low down the table at Christmas.

    In the past we alwyas needed a collapse of our top four rival.

    This time we may need multiple collapses.

    I also think we have a chance of a long CL run this season, which certainly will handicap our EPL campaign.

  22. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Hopefully we`ll be switched on from the whistle tomorrow & not be out of the game by half time.

    I don`t see why Arsene should change the attacking instinct on display last week & play to our strengths again in an effort to really `trouser` Pool , although I`d settle for a pair of shorts & a narrow win.

  23. Bill says:

    SV

    Unlike previous seasons we don’t need anyone above us to collapse. We just need ourselves and the teams above us to trend back to normal.

  24. dfb says:

    Enjoyable link Bob, thanks. My favourite player of that era. Never gave less than 100%. Rest of the team weren’t too bad either!

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