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, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas as Liverpool is atop the EPL. But that is not the gift I want.

Merry Christmas as Liverpool is atop the EPL. 
But that is not the gift I want.
by rick olivares

I will borrow a quote from the Associated Press: The last four Premier League champions have all been top on Christmas Day. It may still be wishful thinking for Brendan Rodgers, who claims he will only consider their chances with 10 games to go, but with Luis Suarez in current form he may have to reassess that sooner rather than later.

The last time I felt that Liverpool was finally going to nail that elusive Premier League championship was the 2008-09 season where the Reds finished four points adrift of the Red Devils, 90-86. They were atop the league during Christmas that year and remained there for two more weeks after (they were number one for seven consecutive weeks) until a string of draws and a surprising 2-nil loss to Middlesbrough saw them tumble to third. They came clawing back but the damage was done as the Red Devils won. Again.

So you can say that being atop during Christmas is good but not great. The Savior may have been born on the 25th of December but it remains to be seen if Luis Suarez will be Liverpool’s savior. Besides, the season is hardly at its halfway point.

Unfortunately, Liverpool’s best has not been good enough. Not since the old days. Aye, there’s the rub. There has been some to cheer about but one cannot keep rehashing history or even that one night in Istanbul. It gets old real fast especially in the light how United has rubbed our noses in the dirt as they have eclipsed us as the preeminent football club in England and the world.

While I watch Liverpool’s matches as much as I can, I have been mostly silent. After all, there really hasn’t been much to crow about. They don’t look great or even as overpowering as the 08-09 squad. There are holes in their game and defense; lots of them in fact.

And for all of Suarez’ prodigious scoring ways, he has been a polarizing figure. He is talented without a doubt but we do not need those histrionics and antics.

I feel bad that Steven Gerrard is not the fearsome player he once was. Robbed of his strength, pace, and wicked boot by the injuries that have plagued him as a youngster, I am not sure if he is still the inspirational leader he once was. He is sometimes reduced to taking the spot kicks won by others. That’s how he scores goals now and not with his thunderous right boot from distance that used to make the newsreel.

I am glad though that Daniel Sturridge is in red. Ditto with Raheem Sterling. But my immediate concern is the defense. Daniel Agger and Martin Skrtel are lacking in clearly lacking in confidence as they have mostly fallen out favor with Rodgers.

Mamadou Sakho, former captain for Paris St-. Germain, isn’t that player that he once was. But he still isn’t so bad on defense.

They are only the fifth best defensive team in the Premier League. But fifth best doesn’t cut it.

As I mentioned that they aren’t the most overpowering squad as that belongs to Manchester City who they face at the Etihad soon.

The league will be won by being the best at both. You cannot take one or the other. It has to be both.

Leading the way are the two creative forces on Liverpool from South America in Brazilian Philippe Coutinho and the Uruguayan, Suarez, who made a name for himself worldwide in the 2010 World Cup. He is a household name in Ghana as well.

I am not even sure what to make of Suarez signing an extension with Liverpool after all, he has tried to bolt before. But I can understand. Why not? One wants to play for a top-flight club that challenges and wins but to also play in the Champions League and not Europa, the consolation prize for the pretenders.

We’ve been spurned by Fernando Torres and other players and that confirms that the club isn’t a winner in the eyes of many. The team has been unable to build on 2004-05 and 2008-09.

But there is hope now in the form of an in-form Suarez and the brilliant Coutinho while Jordan Henderson is playing with a lot more confidence. The holiday season is supposed to provide just that – good cheer and hope.

Thanks for making this Christmas merry, Liverpool. But all I want (like I am sure for many other long suffering Reds fans) for Christmas is to see the club lift that elusive trophy by season’s end.

That would be the best gift ever. Even if it’s a few months and a two decades two late.


I like a lot of football teams but my absolute favorite and the one I followed all these years is Liverpool. I don't feel bad or cry when others lose but LFC.... man, I cannot begin to write down how I feel.

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