So much to talk about this about this week.
The comical power-struggle at Liverpool reached new heights when chief executive Rick Parry found out about co-owner Tom Hicks’ demand that he resign, on Sky Sports. The other co-owner (for you can’t have one with the other) defended Rick (is that any name for a chief executive?) and reminded us that the motion to remove him would have to be carried by the full board – which indicated that perhaps Hicks is not the only one who’s not a big fan of Rick.
It seems a shame for the club in a week where Liverpool actually impressed me for a change during their pulsating 4-2 win at home to Arsenal. The Emirates’ started well, going ahead through Diaby, before Philippe Senderos gave pensioner Sami Hyppia enough space in the box to hold a rave. He equalised, natch.
Torres scored brilliantly in the second half when Philippe Senderos gave him enough space in the box…are you spotting a pattern? Theo Walcott’s quite amazing run and cross for Adebayor’s goal seemed to indicate that Arsenal were on their way through only for them to concede a penalty 60 seconds later, one hotly disputed by that nice, fair man Arsene Wenger (we’ll get to him in a bit). Anyway Gerrard got his first kick of the game to make it 3-2 and Ryan Babel, who was bloody good when he came on, wrapped it up leaving an exhausted Cecs Fabregas in his wake.
Unless Arsenal pull off their result of the season at Old Trafford this weekend, the writing is on the wall: it’s season #3 without any silverware. The pressure is clearly getting to Mr Wenger who once again directed the focus on everyone but himself and his players. One might say he was hard done by when Dirk Kuyt semi-wrestled Alexander Hleb to the ground in the first leg against Arsenal, especially in light of a similar-enough decision going against them in the second leg: Toure clipping and “slightly grabbing” Ryan Babel.
“Over the two games this is hard to swallow. The big decisions over penalties have gone against us,” he reminded everyone. “It is difficult to take, the players in the dressing room are very down because they believe week after week the decisions are going against them.” Focusing on things you don’t have control over (referee decisions) while making little of two horrendous defensive errors from the consistently poor Senderos (the player you keep having to select because you chose not to buy another defender), is typical Wenger.
“It will be hard now, we have to go to Manchester United next at the weekend, but we will try to finish strongly. But we still feel a great sense of injustice,” he continued, sending exactly the sort of message that has turned his team in to an unbearable rabble.
The fairly average Alexander Hleb continued the theme. “The Premier League is a very tough competition. Yes, the game is fast and beautiful, but there are also quite a lot of bad tackles and crudeness, and recently also monstrous refereeing mistakes.” He started going in to specifics but I lost interest. Ooh..wait…
“There are quite a lot of bone-breaking players here. English referees are very liberal to them. They do it because they know there will be no real punishment. Eduardo is out for a year, maybe more. His future is under a question mark. The guy who did it was only disqualified for three games. Is it an adequate punishment?”
Yes, that old chestnut. What was it Wenger said again before retracting it hours later? “This guy should never play football again. What is he doing on the football pitch?” He was decidedly less volatile when defending his own player, Abou Diaby, following a dreadful lunge on Bolton’s Gretar Steinsson that earned him a red card. “He hit him, but it was not comparable to what happened a few weeks ago. The tackle was a fraction high. I don’t complain about the red card.”
At least he saw it this time…..wait…who’s this?
“For me it is a tragedy since I did not have a chance to prevent it.” Prevent what? “I stayed here to win the competition and saw good chances to play but I’ve not had them. It makes me very angry.” Oh, right. It’s the lovable Jens Lehmann, a man who was so eager to win the Champions League in 2006 that he ended up lasting 18 minutes of the final before being red carded.
Showing the sort of unity that a club needs as it goes in to its make-or-break game of the season he continued: “To be sitting on the bench behind somebody who only started to play when he was 30 is not funny,” he added with reference to Arsenal’s mediocre number one keeper, Manuel Almunia. “I am very angry.”
One more… “If the coach had spoken to me before the start of the season then I would have been able to decide if I wanted to sit on the bench,” he stated. Poor Jens. He seems to forget that he actually started the season as first choice but made David James look like Lev Yashin.