Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Media Round-Up: Liverpool 1 - Aston Villa 3

After last nights bitterly disappointing result against Villa, it was obvious the headlines weren't going to be pretty. Ten days after Liverpool started their campaign and six points dropped, the Reds have been written off as title contenders. The tabloids have deliriously eliminated their chances and bookmakers have dropped odds on the Anfield club capturing the Premiership title in May. With almost nine months to go, 35 matches left to play and a total of 105 potential points yet to win, Liverpool are out of the title race, its official!! Even with this ridiculous assessment in mind, some of the criticism leveled towards the club is damn right ludicrous!

Take a deep breath.... here's the 'Media Round-Up'.

"Are Liverpool already out of this year's title race?" screams the Guardian!

"The season is little over a week old, yet after tonight's 3-1 defeat to Aston Villa, Liverpool have already lost as many games as they did last year. Home draws ultimately cost Rafael Benítez's side the title then; this time a loss on home soil, their first since losing to Manchester United in December 2007, may be the premature nail in the coffin. Even at this stage, is it time to write off Liverpool's chances for another season?"

"What of Benítez? Rumours were rife that he was going to quit last Wednesday when he stormed out of a training session, but he returned and Liverpool beat Stoke City 4-0 at Anfield. If, as it appears, he really is incapable of delivering Liverpool's first title since 1990, is it time for him to go? Or is it simply the case that this is the best Liverpool can expect, given the lack of available funds? With that in mind, was Benítez right to spend most of his budget on the admittedly impressive Glen Johnson when Liverpool arguably needed more firepower?"

"Crisis looms as Rafael Benítez hunts for answers," shouts the Telegraph.

"One glance at Liverpool’s bench is enough to outline why it has become so commonplace to assume that the side which finished second in the Premier League last season could yet drop three places and, disastrously, out of the Champions League places. Two youth team players, a striker deemed lacking last year and farmed out on loan and an Italian left-back Benítez countenanced selling. It hardly inspires confidence."

"Only the mercurial Ryan Babel and the industrious Albert Riera, of his reserves last night, could conceivably change a game against a side of Villa’s quality."

"Angry Benítez points finger at Gerrard," shriek's the Times.

"Rafael Benítez blamed his senior players — including Steven Gerrard — after watching Liverpool lose 3-1 to Aston Villa at Anfield last night."

"Benítez was quick to spread the blame throughout his ranks, putting particular emphasis on his belief that Liverpool were let down by some of their biggest names, including Gerrard, the captain, who gave away the penalty that sealed their fate."

"Lucas gift sparks Liverpool implosion," declares the Independent.

"One early season defeat is careless, two and it starts to feel like a crisis. Rafael Benitez's regime is well-accustomed to lurching from triumph to disaster and back again but last night's defeat had a gloomy, ominous quality that hinted at problems that run far deeper."

"It was Steven Gerrard's ludicrous tackle on Nigel Reo-Coker that conceded the penalty from which Ashley Young scored Villa's third and decided the game. Fernando Torres scored Liverpool's only goal but this season they will need so much more from him. With his black eye, streaky blond hair and constantly scowling demeanour Torres looked like a latter-day Paul Calf, railing against all the injustices of the world."

"Kop that! Benitez slams Gerrard after Aston Villa stun Liverpool at Anfield," cry's the Mail.

"Lucas gifted Villa a 43rd-minute lead with a headed own goal. But Benitez appeared more concerned with the way Jamie Carragher allowed Curtis Davies to nip in front of him for a near-post header just before half time and the manner in which Gerrard conceded a decisive penalty with a rash challenge two minutes after Liverpool had reduced the arrears."

Clearly the article's in the Mail and the Times are attempting to create further unrest in the club by forcing a wedge between players and manager. This is the last thing the club needs after such disappointing results and it's clear that after such lows, the team and the fans need to pull together. Benitez asked for "the experienced players to take more responsibility," yet this has been translated by the press into:

"Rafa Benitez pointed an accusing finger at Steven Gerrard and his senior players after Liverpool's first Barclays Premier League defeat at Anfield in 21 months."

Speaking in the post match press conference Benitez said:

“If you look at the goals we conceded, the first [the Lucas own goal] was a mistake and the second was in [first-half] injury time,” said Benítez. “Then we scored and, at a crucial moment, we gave away a penalty. We made too many mistakes at crucial times. It was a clear penalty."

“It was not only Lucas. We have to be fair. Gerrard gave away the penalty. There were too many people involved. If you want to analyse the mistakes of each player, you would have to analyse a lot of things in the game. We are talking about some names, but clearly the team has to improve and it depends on the experienced players to take more responsibility."

“If you are losing, the only way to change things is to win. After we lost the first game, we managed to beat Stoke 4-0. Now we have to try to respond in the same way and win against Bolton at the weekend.”

"It's not good talking about the title. We can't afford to look any further than our next game. People can talk about transfer funds but this team finished so close to the top last season and should be doing better."

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