Blogs & Opinion

More Mersey misery

Merse stunned that Stoke aren't favourites

Paul Merson - Paul Merson Posted 15th January 2010 view comments

When Arsenal get beat I usually get a text off Phil Thompson and when Liverpool get beat I usually send him one.

Well, Thommo texted me after the Reading game and said "Has it got that bad that it doesn't even warrant a text?" I just didn't bother texting him on Wednesday. It's just got sad for them now.

Liverpool are a big, big club and things have got seriously pear-shaped. I thought they'd win the FA Cup because they'd try harder than everyone else, but now they're out of everything. I feel for the Liverpool fans because they know their football and they're getting put through a nightmare at the moment.

Benitez: future being questioned in press

Benitez: future being questioned in press

It wasn't even a smash and grab by Reading. Sometimes a team gets one shot, scores one goal and causes an upset in the FA Cup. That's what the Cup is all about, but Liverpool were just atrocious on Wednesday.

It's not that long ago that Reading were getting smashed to smithereens at Plymouth. They're not a top Championship team, far from it, so it was a shocking result for Liverpool.

There's a lot in the papers about Benitez's future, but I don't think they've got the money to get rid of him. If they did I think he'd be long gone.

Paul Merson
Quotes of the week

Stoke City v Liverpool

12.30pm, Sat, Sky Sports HD1, SS1
Watch online with Sky Player
Click to remote record

I've said it all season, there's too many players that are fortunate to be playing for Liverpool Football Club and on Wednesday we saw they are not good enough.

I know people say Rafa Benitez has brought a lot of money in to the club, but he has still had a lot of money to spend - and he hasn't brought in players that are better than the ones he's sold. Peter Crouch, Robbie Keane and Xabi Alonso would all get into that team today.

And a top club like Liverpool can't be playing two holding midfield players. Nobody does that, even Portsmouth, or any of the teams at the bottom.


It would be a mini miracle if they got in the top four, it would be like winning the league for them now. That Champions League spot gets bigger and bigger for them every week.

I thought they were going to go on a run after that good result at Aston Villa, but then they went to Reading and were lucky to get a draw. Steven Gerrard admitted that afterwards.

The other night Benitez said he didn't agree with that statement and I just wonder what game he's watching sometimes.

There's a lot in the papers about Benitez's future, but I don't think they've got the money to get rid of him. If they did I think he'd be long gone.


So I can't believe the odds for this game. The home team were as wide as 4/1 to win and that is a real disrespect to Stoke City. I can't believe they're not favourites.

I cannot for the life of me see Liverpool winning this football match. Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard are injured and if you take them out of the equation I cannot see what they've got. Full stop.

David N'Gog wouldn't get in the Stoke team. Tony Pulis definitely wouldn't swap him for Tuncay and I wouldn't swap him for James Beattie or Ricardo Fuller either.

The odds are very disrespectful to Stoke because I can only see them winning it.

Home win - I can't see anything but a Stoke win. If they play like they did in the first half against Fulham then it will be a nightmare for Rafa. If they play like they did in the second, you never know, but I'm going for 2-0 to Stoke.

Ricardo Fuller - I do like Ricardo Fuller. He came on against Fulham and I thought he was very good. He's unpredictable, he's got bags of skill and I think he could be the one to spin Liverpool's heads.

Comments (82)

Asif Arif, manchester (Manchester United fan) says...

Too many injuries and not enough investment in the squad - Not Rafa's fault.

Posted 12:54 19th January 2010

Cian Scollard (Manchester United fan) says...

To stevie winro, I agree with you point that Ferguson has made some mistakes in the transfer market (nani being the most obvious) but lumping Valenci into the category seems to show that you don't actually watch football, he's been United's best p[layer this season apart from Rooney! Also stating that united win games simply because of reputation is ludicrous! Yes, other teams are intimidated by playing United but why is that a negative thing? Obviously a team like united will use any and all advantages they can get to win a game. Also, to gain such a reputation you have to do something right, which of course is why Liverpool don't have that reputation this season. So to chalk united down as a team that only wins because of reputation is to misunderstand the situation completely. Don't try to shift blame or to come up with excuses. You've just got to accept that this season Liverpoll have been well below par and the end doesn't seem to be in sight

Posted 14:09 18th January 2010

Marc Thompson (Manchester United fan) says...

Stevie, In reply to your comment; it is a sad day when all a Liverpool Supporter hangs onto is a 4 - 1 win over United last year. Liverpool is a shadow of the side that I use to watch in the late 70's and throughout the 80's. Liverpool were a side that evoked fear into everyone they played not only in England but also in Europe. The difference between then and now is, the mangers and players of yesteryear played with passion, and a player needed to in a different class to get into the first team. Now days if you drive pass Anfield with your boots in the back of your car, pop in you might get to play...

Posted 09:04 18th January 2010

Neil Brennan (Everton fan) says...

Why can't Liverpool fans just accept that they are not as good as they think they are. The teams they've had for the last 20 years haven't done it and it wasn't that long ago they were scrabbling around 5th, 6th and 7th. If the Champions League format had not of changed then there would only be a top 3 in this country and that would at least consist of teams that had won the prem i.e Arsenal, Chelsea aand Man Utd.

Posted 22:39 17th January 2010

Paul Noonan (Liverpool fan) says...

Its a Results Business. Rafael Benitez has to go. If this was any other club the manager would be long gone. The owners do have the money or they did back in December 2009: "Hicks is closing in on a deal to sell his Texas Rangers baseball franchise for a rumoured £300m". "George Gillett, who sold his Montreal Canadiens National Hockey League franchise for a similar amount a few weeks ago". For the good of Liverpool Football Club, Rafael Benitez do the decent thing and go. For the good of LFC, Liverpool Owners: Sack Benitez now. YNWA.

Posted 11:35 17th January 2010

Akesh Singh (Liverpool fan) says...

i agree with paul merson and danny murphy, its about time benitez was sacked. liverpool have lost their passion to fight back and win games. get back king kenny to manage the reds.

Posted 11:29 17th January 2010

Deguy Black (Liverpool fan) says...

I simply cannot understand why some Liverpool fans want to follow Rafa blindly until the club ends up like Leeds. Rafa has a 'sweet deal' as my friend keeps saying because if we sack him he get's paid! He's the only one who doesn't lose out, the players don't win medals, the owners lose money but Rafa get PAID! Babel should play up front with Torres but Rafa consistently refuses to give the lad a chance, just like what he did to Robbie Keane but over a longer period. Kuyt and N'gog haven't got a 1st touch more like a 3rd or 4th! Dirk Kirk has been turned into the hardest working most defensive striker the world has ever seen! I think Rafa secretly wants to get the sack so he can take the £20M and buy a new Villa in Spain. He does not want the club to do well that is evident from the squad he has picked for the Stoke game. Degen & Aurelio on the right and left wing! Carragher at right back! Babel not even in the squad! £20M Aquilani on the bench with promising talent Aquilani and this is a game we 'must win'! The only conclusion I can reach is Rafa wants to get sacked. He doesn't look like he is bothered about the state of the club. In the same timeframe Houllier had won 7 trophies with half the money Rafa's spent and we had a better team/squad! The ONLY thing that will save this club now is the sacking of Rafa!! Real Liverpool fans would rather sack him, start the rebuilding process now than wait til the summer, wait til we haven't got the last Champion's League spot and risk losing Torres and whoever else would leave!!! I call on my fellow Liverpool fans to see some sense. Rafa has got to go for the good of the club!!

Posted 14:20 16th January 2010

Paul Manison (Birmingham City fan) says...

I always look for liverpool results as they have always been a home grown quality team, unfortunately like many prem clubs now their back bone has gone as they are now foreign dominated with foreign coach who think the best way to get a good side is by bringing overseas players and overlooking home grown talent who would die playing for their local club. Like Arsenal, Portsmouth etc i hope they win nothing, these clubs are systematically destroying english not british talent. Overpaid underachievers an insult to every working class man.

Posted 14:07 16th January 2010

Peter Crouch (Cardiff City fan) says...

Im a Cardiff Fan, I work with Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd fans. I love to hear thier banter about the league, the problem is, the Liverpool fans shouldn't even get involved, because you've not won the league in 20 years. A generation. dole out banter about Champions league fair enough. But the Premier League belongs to Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham, Villa, Man City, Fulham, before you guys.....sorry pooler fans. Is Kenny there?, get Benitez out and put him in until a suitable manager comes along thats prepared to inherit a second rate bunch of footballers.....and no money to spend. 2-1 Stoke. Pooler to finish 6th. Cardiff to fall just before the play off's again !!!

Posted 12:59 16th January 2010

Colin Price (Liverpool fan) says...

I think to be honest, we massively overachieved last year and this year is a reality check. We have two world class quality players in Torres and Gerrard. Masch is ok and Johnson when not injured is ok. The rest are average at best, Carra is feeling his age and I felt in the summer we desparately needed to buy a striker as Ngog and Voronin were no backup to Torres. We bought an injured player which for me is never a great idea. The whole squad needs a massive shakeup and I personally think its time to change the manager but without funds we will be the same situation as pointed out by previous contributors, aquillani is a £5m buy with it to rise dependant aroundpon appearences (given his injury record!) and johnson £7m (pompey owed us from crouch deal and pennant loan), so almost nothing spent by yanks. at the end of the day in life you get what you pay for and we have spent nothing and sold our best passer of the ball in the summer. The solutions are at the top we need a new manager and new owners and without a change in both we will not finish in top 4 this season or for the forseeable future. I have followed liverpool through the good times and the bad (heysel, hillsborough) and this is a comparable time to the souness regime when a stubborn manager beleagured by injuries refused to see the obvious and through necessity not choice blooded youngsters like owen and gerrard. Maybe time to give the youngsters a chance ahead of some in that squad/team!

Posted 12:40 16th January 2010

Jonathan Lysaght (Liverpool fan) says...

Michael Flemming unfortunatly you seem to be part of the new breed of football fan. Media led, contraditive and unrealistic, You claim we have gone backwards in one sentance then say we should of won the league by a country mile in the next make your mind up which one is it! Man united won the league with 90 points last season (which very few teams have managed) if you believe that the Liverpool squad was capable of beating that total by a coutry mile then i am sorry you are beyond help.

Posted 11:42 16th January 2010

Tyrone O'brien (Liverpool fan) says...

Jason Williams (Liverpool fan) to say rafa played insua kuyt lucas to play mind games with the owners is ridiculous, so has rafa been playing them every game this season in order to play mind games with the owners who have already tried to get rid of him already plus basically throw the only cup competition we cud have won and loose his already diminishing support from the fans. the truth is managers are judged by wins,silverware and there transfers and barring the cl and fa cup and approx.5 or 6 good signings its not been good enough.we are the most successful team in british history tryin to compete for 4th place and the europa is an insult to this club.the owners need to go so does rafa but who is better to replace him? hiddink is owned by abbramovich and mouriniho wants the manure job........

Posted 11:34 16th January 2010

Simon Griffith (Liverpool fan) says...

There is no doubting that it is not a good time to be a Liverpool fan at the moment, but we have to get behind our boys. I believe Rafa has bought players who are not good enough to wear the red of our beloved club and the majority of the players seem to play with no passion. Yes we have suffered injuries this season, had decisions go against us but these shouldn't be used as excuses for our POOR form. The reasons are the poor buys and players looking like they really don't care what happens as long as they get their wages. We need the Yanks out of Anfield, get the stadium built to increase future income and start looking at new players who, first and foremost, want to play for Liverpool. We only have a couple of these at the moment and it is not good enough. I coach an under 15s team and most of these lads would do a better job than the majority of the players in red at the moment. They would give anything to get to play football at that level, something most of the Liverpool players don,t seem to be bothered about at the moment. However, let's get behind our team and hope that we see our lads get the ball down and play football that Liverpool players should be playing.

Posted 11:12 16th January 2010

Russ Davis (Hereford United fan) says...

Rafa...Why play full backs in midfield?...Why play two holding midfielders?...Why play only one up front, even at Anfield?...Why bomb out Babel but give Lucas chance after chance?....Why buy bit part players and then sell them 18 months later for a loss? Liverpool seem to have imploded from the side that finished runners up last season and from looking at your team selections and tactics I would assume that your judgement has gone the same way.

Posted 10:48 16th January 2010

Steve Cookson (Liverpool fan) says...

Get off the guy's back, get behind the team you're supposed to support and keep the faith. Rafa and the boys will get it right. Starting with Stoke.........

Posted 10:41 16th January 2010

Ben Redding (Aston Villa fan) says...

Some of the comments on here are crazy! Quotes like "we need probably around 3 world class signings with a couple of squad players to get it right." I think with respect, if you put three world class players in any premier league team you'd probably get it right. Liverpool this season have been unlucky with injuries but the blame has got to lie with Benitez. He's made poor signings and relies far to heavily on Torres & Gerrard. Don't get me wrong, if you take the two best players out of any team, they would be weaker but their replacements should at least be able to do a job. With Torres and Gerrard out, their replacements will be Ngog & Babel?? Champions League....your having a laugh!!!

Posted 10:15 16th January 2010

Neil P (Chelsea fan) says...

If Liverpool want to be a top team again they must sack their manager. He plays with a European system unsuited to the prem, he buys mediocre foreign players as he refuses to look at good British players (Young, Milner, Dunne, Downing) and when he does get good ones he doesn't know how to either manage or coach them, Crouch , Keane (yes I know he's Irish). His habit of talking nonesense after games and then criticising individual players must surely add to the low morale of the squad. Yes he won the EC but that was with a team inherited from Houllier. People keep yapping on about how close they came to winning the league last year, fact; they came closer to finishing third! Twenty years and counting, whats it all you reds sing to us Blues "you've got no history" actually we have an excellent recent history and you lot are living in the past.

Posted 09:43 16th January 2010

Robin Wiles (Stoke City fan) says...

Very fair & balanced article - makes a change for a pundit to give a reasoned assessment of Stoke. A repeat of the first half against Fulham will do very nicely indeed, and even if our Turkish Delight isn't fit, we've got the legend that is Ricardo Fuller - c'mon you mighty Potters!

Posted 09:22 16th January 2010

Tony Babs (Liverpool fan) says...

It is now time to do the obvious. Sack Benitez. If the owners don't have the funds to pay him out, sell any one or more of a number of overpaid, underperforming prima donnas, and in that lot include Gerrard. Benitez has made FOUR good signings in his 6 years, Torres, Reina, Luis Garcia, and Xabi Alonso. The rest have been absolute RUBBISH. Any new manager, whether its Guus or Jose, would clear out the majority of the current team who simply are not good enough. Liverpool have always been a team of international regulars. Only Torres is a regular starter for his country, and in current form Gerrard may not even make the trip to South Africa. WAKE UP before its too late. In Rafa we DO NOT trust.

Posted 07:38 16th January 2010

David Elder (Aston Villa fan) says...

As much as Villa, Manchester City and Tottenham are benefitting from Liverpools demise this season, it is a fantastic football club and although its a very bad season in theyre eyes in the eyes of Villa and Tottenham it is a great season so far for both sides where Liverpool are only a couple of points behind Villa just goes to show the expections surrounding the club. Benitez is a great manager according to his honours but maybe its time to move on for Liverpool the club needs a revamp and a breathe of fresh air. Get in for Redknapp and leave O'Neill alone please

Posted 01:25 16th January 2010

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Latest News RSS feeds

Chelsea in good shape for PSG

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is likely to have a strong squad to select from for their Champions League game with Paris Saint-Germain.

'Let's throw some punches'

New Aston Villa manager Tim Sherwood says he is planning to install a more attacking approach at the club.

LVG: We must sign a midfielder

Louis van Gaal has confirmed that Manchester United will attempt to sign a creative midfield player this summer.

Live transfer updates

Live transfer news as Louis van Gaal makes the signing a creative midfielder his top priority this summer.

Bony trains with new team-mates

Wilfried Bony has trained with Man City for the first time after winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Ivory Coast.


Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

Tim Sherwood's to-do list: Five things the new Aston Villa manager must make a priority if he is to succeed

As Tim Sherwood settles into his first day at work as Aston Villa manager, the challenge of keeping the Premier League perennials in the top flight begins.

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Pogba? Verratti? Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal wants a creative midfielder but who should he sign?

Only a fortnight after the transfer window closed, Louis van Gaal has set tongues wagging again by admitting that Manchester United need to sign a creative midfielder.

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Xabi Alonso impressing at Bayern Munich under Pep Guardiola and eyeing a third Champions League medal

Adam Bate looks at Xabi Alonso's fine form with Bayern Munich and why he can make history this season.