Thursday, 18 March 2010

A mess - on the field and off it. Liverpool faces European exit.

Liverpool's prospects of claiming some silverware this season could end at Anfield tonight. If Rafa Benitez' side cannot overturn a one goal deficit against Lille the Europa Cup will have gone the same way as the League Cup, the F.A. Cup and the Premier League.

Fernando Torres has indicated that he might have to look elsewhere to pursue trophies, Albert Riera has highlighted the manager's lack of communication with players and Steven Gerrard's recent conduct suggests that he is feeling the strain.

On the pitch, a comfortable win against Portsmouth not withstanding, Liverpool's form has gone from bad to worse. Lille are a plodding, mediocre team and the 1-0 victory they were handed in France came courtesy of a deplorably negative display by the Anfield men.

Liverpool couldn't muster a goal either at Wigan Athletic. Even a team as gutless as Tottenham Hotspur was able to run in nine goals against the Latics.

Torres is conservative when he suggests that five or six top class players need to arrive in the summer in order to provide impetus for a serious title challenge. Long-term, only a change of manager, and a re-evaluation of the tedious style which Benitez favours, can affect lasting improvement.

However, the club is also in critical need of an injection of finance. A New York based group has proposed a £100 million investment, in return for a 40% stake in Liverpool. The money would pay off a chunk of debt which the Royal Bank of Scotland is demanding within twenty days.

How can Britain's greatest football club have reached this lamentable state of affairs? Even two years ago Dubai International Capital offered £500 million to become owners. The present incumbents, Hicks and Gillett, felt they could do better.

Now, with RBS expressing its impatience, the Americans are still reluctant to sell. Although it was their takeover, their lies and their lack of resources which saddled the club with its debt in the first instance!

Liverpool supporters are left wondering when this nightmare is going to end. Will it cost them their prized asset, Torres, and with him, any chances of League or Champions League glory for the foreseeable future?

They can be forgiven for cursing the previous chairman David Moores, and his Chief Executive, Rick Parry, who brokered the deal with Hicks and Gillett.

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