As most Indians sleep content, thanks to the T20 win over Australia, I sit awake wondering what’s going on with my beloved Reds. Let me first get the one thing I have to say about the cricket match out of the way though. In Dhoni, India might have stumbled (Indian cricket always stumbles into leaders/ players, nothing ever happen here by design) upon a man who can keep his common sense around, even in tight situations. I believe captaincy, like most things in life, is about common sense and in bowling Bhajji and RPS before Sharma, he made the sensible decision. Most captains, unfortunately, don’t always make this “common sense” decision and are tempted to get the over of the “weak link” out of the way and hold back their best bowler(s) for the end. Trouble is, the match is quite often all over bar the shouting by the time the best bowler comes to bowl.
Is Rafa going against common-sense by holding back his best players for future battles? I don’t know about common sense, but he’s surely going against the common opinion. Which makes me believe he might actually be right, because one of the things I have learnt so far in life, is if you everyone is against you, you might actually be onto something – common sense isn’t as common as the name might suggest, you see.
Second, Torres started mid-week (and everyone’s giving Rafa shit because he benched him today) and, if anything, we were worse against Porto. Look at the Beeb’s by-line in the article I linked above: “Birmingham punish Liverpool for leaving out Fernando Torres, by holding for a goalless draw at Anfield.” – Jesus, like Toress is God himself and his starting would have meant definite 3 points – FFS!!! I watched the game mid-week and I watched a taped version of today’s game, and we played worse against Porto. Sure, Porto are a better team than Birmingham, and the match was away from home, but it wasn’t about the oppoisition in mid-week, and if anything Birmingham did quite well with their gameplan, where by gameplan I mean, let’s get all our bodies behind the ball and hope we don’t concede. I am not maning about that – fair enough, that’s the “price”, if you will, of being one of the top sides – that’s what the “lesser” sides do against you at your home ground. And sometimes away from you.
But let’s face it, we were quite ordinary today on the whole and have been for the past 3 games, and I’m not sure how much of a difference any one player would have made – even Torres with all his intelligence and guile and shit. We seem to be lacking energy and heart and what not, and that is not Rafa’s fault. Fuckin’ hate international football with a passion – all was going so well before the last set of International matches. And it’ll happen again – we’ll win the next few matches until 7th October comes along and they’ll come with their begging bowls, the National teams will, and take our players away to send them to play some meaningless friendly or stupid Qualifier no one has any interest in, to a country so far away that frequent flier miles from the trip would get you a free round trip to the moon. Then they will send them back all crooked and tired and Rafa will spend sleepless nights wondering which players returned with a broken metatarsal. Yes, that’s why we pay these players hundreds and thousands of Pounds a week, so they can go and get themeselves injured playing for SOMEONE ELSE!
Anyways, it’s hardly a “crisis”, our current form, if you ask me and only a minor concern as far as I am concerned. And you won’t find me second guessing a man who’s beaten Barcelona and Real Madrid twice in his sleep and reached the finals of the biggest tournament in the game two times, winning one. It’s a case of players not doing the job with passion and energy that is required and blaming Rafa is useless, albeit hardly unexpected. But all this talk of the title being gone and all that is, well, horseshit. We are still unbeaten this season, still no goals conceded from open play – the 3 goals we have conceded so far have all come from penalties – go figure! ManU and Chelsea aren’t running away either and we all know Arsenal’s “kids” are going to run out of steam sooner rather than later (4 out of their 5 wins have come at home btw). And yes, like someone at RAWK said, we beat Derby 6-0 while Arsenal could manage only 5 goals, so we are better than them… Yipee!!!!
Before I go, let me give some shit to the guys who run ESPN-Star. When they launched Star Cricket, I was happy. Not because I wanted to see 24 hours of cricket, but (because) I thought now I wouldn’t miss out on any footie, because some stupid Cricket match was taking the space. But, no Sir. Now we have Star Cricket showing a match with Hindi Commentary and ESPN showing the same match with English commentary!!! Means it’ll have been 4 weeks without live Premier League action by the time next week comes around – and people wonder why I have been a cranky old man lately. All this, thanks to the darn international breaks and this T20 World Cup, which has been fun I would admit, but doesn’t even compare to watching the Reds live in action.
Time for me to hit the bed. Walk on guys – the guys in Red i.e. Ah, ok Amitabh, I’ll give you one – best of the luck to men in Blue as well for the big, big “short” game against Pakistan on Monday. Yet another “go figure” though – final of a championship on a Monday! Bring the cup home guys – it’s been 24 long years since we saw one of those babies. I just hope I haven’t jinxed it.