Fyrir það fyrsta, þá er hérna fín grein í Times um hina mögnuðu gagnrýni, sem að Rafa Benitez þarf að þola umfram flest-alla þjálfara í deildinni: Lucky, lucky Liverpool.
Paul Tomkins skrifar líka ágætan pistil útaf þessari mögnuðu gagnrýni á liðsskipanina gegn Portsmouth. Hann bendir á punkt, sem ekki allir virðast fatta:
What Rafa did in the face of fatigue was pair Torres, Kuyt and Alonso up against an equally tired second-half Portsmouth side, when their quality could tell. Ideally the game would have been won by then, but if it wasn’t, they were there to win it late on. After all, Alex Ferguson has done that countless times in the past, keeping his stars in reserve in case he needed them to come on and win the game.
Had that trio started the game, it could quite easily have been a case of them tiring before the south coast side. Who knows? It’s certainly not unlikely after the midweek exertions, and a whopping 210 minutes of football since Pompey played last Saturday. Either way, it’s an almost impossible situation for the team to play to the best of its ability.
Einnig ber Tomkins saman hvernig að Man U spilar án Rooney / Ronaldo versus það hvernig Liverpool vegnar án Torres / Gerrard:
In the 12 league matches Rooney did not start, United’s accrued a 69-point average when extrapolated over 38 games, as opposed to the 87 they actually racked up. In the seven games Ronaldo did not start, the average would have made an even worse total: 65 points. Or the tally that saw Everton finish 5th.
Áfram heldur hann:
Gerrard has failed to start four league games –– Villa, United, Fulham and Portsmouth. Two of those are clearly very tough fixtures, against top-three sides. Two were at home, two away. And yet Liverpool’s record is won two, drawn two. Over 38 league games, that is worth an impressive 76 points.
Due to injury, Torres has failed to start no fewer than 15 league games. These resulted in ten wins, four draws and just one defeat. Over a 38 game season, that ratio would earn an incredible 86 points. That is a title-winning tally; last year United got 87, but needed only 86.
Í kvöld spila Spánverjar og Englendingar vináttulandsleik. Það er enginn Liverpool maður í enska hópnum, en 5 í spænska hópnum. Nánast bókað er að tveir þeirra verða í byrjunarliðinu (Xabi Alonso og Fernando Torres) og hinir þrír þá væntanlega á bekknum (Riera, Reina og Arbeloa). Talandi um Torres, þá segist hann hvergi vilja spila annars staðar en með Liverpool. Skynsamur maður þar á ferð.