Someone asked me how my blog and newspaper column came to be titled "Bleachers Brew". It's like this, it's an amalgam of sorts of two things: The bleachers area in the stadium/arena where I used to sit when I would watch baseball, football, and basketball games and Miles Davis' great jazz album Bitches Brew. That's how it got culled together. I originally planned on calling it "The View from the Big Chair" that is a nod to Tears For Fear's second album, Songs from the Big Chair. So there.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where to, Liverpool?


Where to, Liverpool?
by rick olivares

Is it more acceptable that Manchester City wins the Premier League over Manchester United?

Do you worry that the Barclays trophy isn’t leaving the Manchester area any time soon?

I am not overly concerned about any of that. I am more worried about rising above the worst ever season by Liverpool since 1954. I am more concerned that we didn’t really have great signings over the summer that will lift the team out of its collective funk. I am more concerned with what the hell Brendan Rodgers was thinking when he tried to offload Andy Carroll that he was in danger of messing up a player who began to play better as the season progressed that his fine form carried all the way to the Euros. I am more concerned that we cannot beat the West Bromwich Albions of this world so what chance against the champs and last year’s second placers. Oh, yeah. We gifted City with a late goal.

I am also wondering if Brendan Rodgers is the second coming of Brian Clough.

Well, it is a little different because the Leeds that Clough joined were previous champions although their style of play can be best described as “dirty.” If Rodgers is said to be a genius this is where he gets to prove it. With a big club.

Liverpool hasn’t been champions in over a generation or two and the only thing that can best be described as dirty is the morass of the disastrous Hicks-Gillette ownership that continued to plague the team up to today.

It beggars my imagination how the club’s bosses jettisoned Kenny Dalglish and Steve Clarke in spite of winning one cup and making the finals of another. Of course, the target of a Champions League slot was missed by a mile and Stewart Downing was a massive bust. So Fenway Sports Group brings in Rodgers and once more “Wot! We’re in a rebuilding mode.”

I understand that change is always good but the club has been rebuilding ad infinitum.

I remember when Liverpool fans used to taunt Chelsea of having “no history”. The sad thing for Reds fans is well, we are ancient history. You cannot keep trumpeting the past because Anfield is turning quickly into Jurassic Park. We’ve not really won much since the advent of the Premier League in terms of major silverware. In the club’s worst season since 1954, this should teach us some humility.

While Downing didn’t amount to anything and it is quite obvious that Steven Gerrard and Jaime Carragher on their last legs, there is a silver lining (Welcome to Anfield, Joe Allen and Oussama Assaidi. Hope you survive the experience.)

The partnership of Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel is this generation’s version of John Arne Riise and Sami Hyypia. Glen Johnson helps but the defense is hardly air tight. Last year saw the best form of Agger (as he was largely injury free) and that continued all the way to the Euros.

Lucas Leiva, formerly maligned and now considered a huge part in the Reds’ plans, is back after a crippling injury.

Rodgers will also have the services of some world-class players in Luis Suarez, Pepe Reina, Agger, and well, let us hope here Fabio Borini and Nuri Sahin.

The last Italian and Real Madrid expat to play in Liverpool both flopped. That was Alberto Aquilani and Raul Morientes. So there are hopes that Borini and Sahin contribute to Liverpool’s fortunes.

It’s funny how Liverpool wants to transport Swansealona to Anfield. Everyone wants to copy Barcelona’s game from Chelsea to the entire world. Can’t pry Pep Guardiola (who could possibly end up in either Manchester United, Chelsea or even Arsenal after this season depending on the fortunes of the three clubs), then there’s a bargain basement Barca-play alike who got his tutelage under Jose Mourinho of all (and that does sound weird).

I’m not jumping up and down with the new signings (while the previous year's summer recruits were all on the bench a sure sign that they are not in Rodgers' plans). Sure there's talent and potential. Really. But who knows? Liverpool can just turn things around (although I suspect that it will take them another year as they must sign some key players to really fit the system that Rodgers wants to play.

Does Liverpool have the personnel to play the short passing game? The jury’s still out after two games. As Rodgers said, there will be some bleeding before it gets good. Let’s just hope that the blood shed doesn’t drop them into the relegation zone.

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You will learn a lot more from watching the games than simply reading football sites. And you call yourselves fans.  Please. Funny how many people now diss last season's batch of signings post-fall and all. Hindsight is 20/20. Put your money where your mouth is.

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