Tony Barrett: Vulnerable Liverpool are Mediocre- and they know it

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Post by DeletedUser#1 Tue May 19, 2015 3:47 pm

Tony Barrett
Last updated at 10:53AM, May 19 2015


Not since buying Liverpool in October 2010 has Fenway Sports Group (FSG) endured such a chastening 72 hours. On Saturday, supporters at Anfield reacted with derision to the suggestion that the club are heading in the right direction. Then yesterday there was a vicious double whammy as Michel Platini confirmed that the Financial Fair Play rules which attracted John W. Henry to purchase the club are to be relaxed and Raheem Sterling’s camp made it known that the winger wishes to leave.
Liverpool are vulnerable right now. They are mediocre and everyone knows it. The reality is that those at the top end of the football industry have known it for some time, hence senior scouts from Manchester City and Chelsea becoming Anfield regulars this season in the knowledge that Liverpool’s best players are there for the taking in a way that they haven’t been for half a century.
For all the opprobrium – some of it just, some of it not – that will inevitably be showered on Sterling and his representative, Aidy Ward, following yesterday’s events, the reality is that it is Liverpool’s weakness that allows players and agents to act in the way that they are. One of the club’s first and most important responsibilities is to make it a place that players find difficult to leave and it would be absurd to claim that is currently the case.
With no Champions League football to offer, only one trophy (the League Cup) won in the past nine seasons, just three title challenges since 1991, a transfer policy that prioritises the future over the present and an inability to compete for top players, Liverpool are failing to keep their end of the bargain in terms of how a big club are supposed to behave. Expectations have been lowered, almost dumbed down, and if the supporters can recognise that so too can the players.
Thus far, the strongest argument that Liverpool have been able to muster in their attempts to convince Sterling to remain at the club is that it is the best place for his development at this stage of his career; not that if he remains at Anfield he can fulfil his ambitions, that success is around the corner or that they will pay him as much as others are willing to. It is an argument rooted in weakness and lacking in conviction.
It could also be argued that it is flawed given that Sterling, a creative player, has spent the past 12 months playing in a team without a forward. It is all well and good playing regular first-team football but doing so in a dysfunctional team that stymies your best qualities is hardly developmental.
The reality is that Liverpool’s problems – their failure to finish in the top four, their struggle to hold on to their best players, the lack of supporters’ faith in the club’s direction and the pressure that is building on the Anfield hierarchy – are symptoms of the same cause: a flawed transfer strategy that it is causing untold damage. Signing potential rather than proven talent is undermining everything that Liverpool are supposed to stand for. It has reached the stage where one of their better young players is not prepared to hang around to see if their inferior young players will improve.
For all the accusations that Sterling is going the wrong way about forcing a move (and many of these are wholly legitimate), Liverpool are at the mercy of the ambition of others because they are either unwilling or unable to match their rivals’ ambition. That situation is only likely to become more severe now that FFP is about to be watered down. As Henry himself conceded recently, without FFP it becomes “very difficult” for Liverpool to compete. The established football food chain, ordered according to owners’ wealth, leaves them exposed. Rival clubs, avaricious agents and even their own supporters know this only too well.
FSG’s model is failing. Whether that is because it is fundamentally flawed or poorly executed is a moot point but what is not in question is that Liverpool’s entire football operation is in need of urgent evaluation. Until the things that are going wrong are put right, then Raheem Sterling won’t be the last to believe the grass is greener elsewhere, he’ll just be one of a number in an ever lengthening line who view Liverpool Football Club as a stepping stone rather than a final destination.

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Post by RED Tue May 19, 2015 9:01 pm

I'd be worried about the future if I were a Liverpool fan.
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Post by Art Morte Tue May 19, 2015 9:14 pm

I think Barrett is being unnecessarily dramatic there.

Our position among clubs is fine, the problem under FSG has been that the resources (money) have been poorly invested.

And when you look at the star players who have left us, it's been to clubs like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea. I've got no problem if we are a stepping stone for players to get to Barcelona or Madrid and I can accept that Chelsea have more money, too. The moment we start losing players to Arsenal or Tottenham, that's when it's bad. But when Arsenal tried to get Suarez, we didn't let that happen, did we? Should Sterling actually end up at Arsenal, I could put that down as one off, too.

Finally, about Financial Fair Play, we were just last season investigated ourselves in regards to it. We've lost probably closer to 200m than 100m under Fenway. We have lost more money in recent years than Chelsea. To somehow put a negative spin on the possible relaxation of the FFP rules is just unfounded doomsaying and drama.

As long as we get people in charge of footballing matters that know better than the current lot how to invest our resources, we should be fine. And Sterling, he's just a drop in that bigger picture.
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Post by McAgger Tue May 19, 2015 9:27 pm

Meh, not worried. Honestly, the main fault here lies at people running the club.

Liverpool are top 9 the richest club in the world and according to Forbes in the top 6 most valued clubs.

Get some intelligent footballing minds/people to run the club and not Ian Ayre's of this world, reinvest all the revenues the club generates back into the club (which the owners are doing) and get a competent manager and we'll be fine.

The current problem is that both CEO Ian Ayre and Brendan Rodgers are absolutely clueless. They are fish out of water and have no idea the sheer scale of Liverpool Football Club.

Overhaul in the management and the board will put us back into contention. We have the resources and the owners aren't milking us of those resources like the previous yanks did.

And finally the ownership does need to reevaluate their ethos for the club. The current buy young and keep the wage bill as low as possible won't work when competing against giants.

It's seems like we are on a free fall because at the moment the club is probably at its lowest both on and off the pitch since the near administration debacle and because of that it looks as though the future is doomed. But a few changes would put us on track.
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Post by mr-r34 Wed May 20, 2015 12:27 am

Barrett paints a really dark picture, not having the most money in the world isn't the biggest problem, Athletico, Juve and Dortmund have proved this.

Our problem lies in how we spend our money, once we get that right we'll be fine, but i have very very little faith in the people at our club now to get that done right.
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Post by DeletedUser#1 Wed May 20, 2015 12:50 am

^ And we have seen the Dortmund/Atletico model isn't sustainable.

We will have the odd flashes of brilliance here and there....maybe win the odd cup or mount the odd title challenge....but I don't think we'll ever be a super club like Man U/Madrid/Barca/Bayern in our life time. Not unless we're bought by super rich mofos.

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Post by mr-r34 Wed May 20, 2015 3:58 am

Natalie Portman wrote:^ And we have seen the Dortmund/Atletico model isn't sustainable.

We will have the odd flashes of brilliance here and there....maybe win the odd cup or mount the odd title challenge....but I don't think we'll ever be a super club like Man U/Madrid/Barca/Bayern in our life time. Not unless we're bought by super rich mofos.


We always knew that to be the case though, FSG weren't a sugar daddy. But in saying that we make twice the revenue Atletico do, and this is with us doing pretty poor in the league and in europe, so there is a lot of money to be made there once we are there.

Bayern, Barca and Madrid's riches comes form raping their leagues, we have to try and match united in the commercials and it's hard to match them when they are making money in the present from the last 20 years of success, unless FSG want to invest another 200-300mil, we'll never be a top tier club. Unless we have a period of success of winning leagues and CL's and then our commercial revenue should have a massive spike.
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Post by mr-r34 Wed May 20, 2015 4:35 am

The Anfield Wrap
5 hrs ·
Tony Barrett reports in The Times tonight that there is "a strategic divergence between Brendan Rodgers and FSG about Liverpool’s transfer policy". He says the manager will meet FSG for an 'end of season review' this month.
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Matthew Rowbottom When he took the job he wanted total control of transfers. Obviously not the case.
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The Anfield Wrap No, Tony says Rodgers wants to pursue a policy of buying proven Premier League players and FSG want to stick with buying potential. Sounds ominous....
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Post by mr-r34 Wed May 20, 2015 4:38 am

How much of the blame for failed transfers do FSG take on board, again they are the one's instructing Brendan to use this strategy, a high risk strategy.

Can anyone show me a team which buy's young players constantly and they all end up gems and get the team trophies?
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Post by DeletedUser#1 Wed May 20, 2015 4:46 am

Both those strategies suck to be honest Very Happy

I rather we buy proven players from OUTSIDE the premier league.


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Post by Kick Wed May 20, 2015 5:05 am

I think it's best to make the decision on where to buy depending on what needs improving.

For example, Sepi, Balotelli was a proven player outside the Prem, but he didn't work.

You have to evaluate each position and decide on where is best to look for that player.

For example, you would probably want a proven in Europe CF, but you could go for a high potential CB, either from within England or Europe.
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Post by DeletedUser#1 Wed May 20, 2015 5:27 am

^ I don't think Balotelli is proven Kick.

I didn't know previously, but doing a study into a manner of his goals scored for his previous clubs, his stats are massively inflated by Penalties and Freekicks.

If you're a Ronaldo and you score 10 penalties out of 60 goals and 50 other open play goals..it's fine. But when you're Balotelli and have 15 goals, and 50% of them are either from spot kicks or free kicks, it massively skews the stats.

There is no proven formula. It's a mixed all. one of the greatest PL purchases of all time (Carrick to Utd) was a proven PL player to another. Fergie was master of buying from EPL. We just suck at it. I think it should be a mix....I liked our policy of buying players very young form England's lower teams (Sterling, Ibe, Ojo, etc). that'll pay dividend big time.


off topic...but can't believe Ian Ayre has pulled this off. Wonder for how long he was negotiating and monitoring the situation Laughing

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Post by McAgger Wed May 20, 2015 5:32 am

He makes 7 figures nuff said
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Post by Kick Wed May 20, 2015 6:25 am

Natalie Portman wrote:^ I don't think Balotelli is proven Kick.

I didn't know previously, but doing a study into a manner of his goals scored for his previous clubs, his stats are massively inflated by Penalties and Freekicks.

If you're a Ronaldo and you score 10 penalties out of 60 goals and 50 other open play goals..it's fine. But when you're Balotelli and have 15 goals, and 50% of them are either from spot kicks or free kicks, it massively skews the stats.

There is no proven formula. It's a mixed all. one of the greatest PL purchases of all time (Carrick to Utd) was a proven PL player to another. Fergie was master of buying from EPL. We just suck at it. I think it should be a mix....I liked our policy of buying players very young form England's lower teams (Sterling, Ibe, Ojo, etc). that'll pay dividend big time.


off topic...but can't believe Ian Ayre has pulled this off. Wonder for how long he was negotiating and monitoring the situation Laughing

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Goals are goals, they still have to be scored.

Anyway, my point is. You can't generalise where you want to make your purchases from, it will be different depending on your needs.
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Post by Art Morte Wed May 20, 2015 6:55 am

mr-r34 wrote:
The Anfield Wrap No, Tony says Rodgers wants to pursue a policy of buying proven Premier League players and FSG want to stick with buying potential. Sounds ominous....
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Rodgers proven PL players are the likes of Lovren, Lallana and Lambert... That's why it won't work. Also, it is such a Football League (lower division) approach to it. If you're in League One, there's not going to be a lot of new, outside talent coming in there. It will mostly be players who are moving within the Football League. If you can afford it, there you can buy a couple of the best players in the league and it will improve you loads. But it doesn't work as well in the Premier League, because there's so much outside talent coming in. You can't think "let's buy the best Prem players of the teams below us", because they will just take that money and bring even better players in. Just look at what Southampton did with our and United's money, Tadic, Mane, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Pelle, they have been great for them. And everyone but Bertrand came from outside, because you can afford that in the Prem, there's so much money. The strategy of "let's buy proven players of this league" probably works out great in the lower divisions, but it's not a recipe for success for Liverpool in the Premier League.
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Post by iftikhar Wed May 20, 2015 8:43 am

I don't think Proven Premier League Players are the solution. But Proven Players, certainly are. I will question the wisdom of the entire Transfer Committee. Of the 24 players bought in last three seasons, only six (Sturridge, Coutinho, Mignolet, Sakho, Lallana and Emre) have managed to prove their worth. I guess there are 2-3 additional players who may prove worthy.
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Post by mr-r34 Wed May 20, 2015 8:46 am

I'm sorry but Lovren, Lallana and Lambert aren't PL proven, they are squad players at best.
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Post by iftikhar Wed May 20, 2015 9:26 am

mr-r34 wrote:I'm sorry but Lovren, Lallana and Lambert aren't PL proven, they are squad players at best.
Lallana is better than a squad player, IMO. However, my point is/was Proven Premier League Players aren't any yardstick to judge the quality of a player. There's barely a handful of players outside Chelsea, City, United, Arsenal who can be considered a quality addition for team chasing Champions League. That's why we have to search outside UK and concentrate on players who are proven.
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Post by Art Morte Wed May 20, 2015 9:31 am

mr-r34 wrote:I'm sorry but Lovren, Lallana and Lambert aren't PL proven, they are squad players at best.


That's the point, but you've got to tell that to Rodgers. Lallana and Lovren were his big-money, PL-proven purchases last summer.
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Post by iftikhar Wed May 20, 2015 9:41 am

Art Morte wrote:
mr-r34 wrote:I'm sorry but Lovren, Lallana and Lambert aren't PL proven, they are squad players at best.


That's the point, but you've got to tell that to Rodgers. Lallana and Lovren were his big-money, PL-proven purchases last summer.
Moreno or Markovic haven't really done much too. I say again, we have to forsake both British & Young.

Hindsight is pretty useless. But I can't help wonder what would have happened if we had spent 200m+ on 10-12 rather than 24 players.
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Post by Nishankly Wed May 20, 2015 10:26 am

This article talks like how its nearly end of the world. Too much pessimism even for my liking.

Just sort the transfer committee out that's about it, Rodgers will prove if he's a good coach or not by the end of December. We can do nothing but wait for the summer and the season, Nervously.

United failed too, With an excellent manager, Signings that one would only dream about and they barely finished 4th by the end, Mostly within comfortable grasp. They bottled this season, We were 10 times this United team in the same position only shitter signings last season. I would expect to challenge the league with that.

We can only move further up brahs, Chill the f out. Rodgers will go by December if he continues this shit. We can't expect instant success, We were nothing for the last 5 years. Look at Soton in the past 5 years. That's what we need to do, Constant forward progress at a good rate.
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Post by Nishankly Wed May 20, 2015 10:34 am

Art Morte wrote:
mr-r34 wrote:
The Anfield Wrap No, Tony says Rodgers wants to pursue a policy of buying proven Premier League players and FSG want to stick with buying potential. Sounds ominous....
Like · 6 · 5 hrs

Copied it from FB


Rodgers proven PL players are the likes of Lovren, Lallana and Lambert... That's why it won't work. Also, it is such a Football League (lower division) approach to it. If you're in League One, there's not going to be a lot of new, outside talent coming in there. It will mostly be players who are moving within the Football League. If you can afford it, there you can buy a couple of the best players in the league and it will improve you loads. But it doesn't work as well in the Premier League, because there's so much outside talent coming in. You can't think "let's buy the best Prem players of the teams below us", because they will just take that money and bring even better players in. Just look at what Southampton did with our and United's money, Tadic, Mane, Bertrand, Alderweireld, Pelle, they have been great for them. And everyone but Bertrand came from outside, because you can afford that in the Prem, there's so much money. The strategy of "let's buy proven players of this league" probably works out great in the lower divisions, but it's not a recipe for success for Liverpool in the Premier League.


ffffss this post makes me want to start new FM game with a conference club so badly.
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Post by Curtinho Wed May 20, 2015 11:17 am

Nishy wrote:This article talks like how its nearly end of the world. Too much pessimism even for my liking.

Just sort the transfer committee out that's about it, Rodgers will prove if he's a good coach or not by the end of December. We can do nothing but wait for the summer and the season, Nervously.

United failed too, With an excellent manager, Signings that one would only dream about and they barely finished 4th by the end, Mostly within comfortable grasp. They bottled this season, We were 10 times this United team in the same position only shitter signings last season. I would expect to challenge the league with that.

We can only move further up brahs, Chill the f out. Rodgers will go by December if he continues this shit. We can't expect instant success, We were nothing for the last 5 years. Look at Soton in the past 5 years. That's what we need to do, Constant forward progress at a good rate.


Part of the problem is it was always meant to be a project with Rodgers but becaus he found early success and took us to 2nd the fans and it seems even ownership got inflated expectations and entitlement. We are where we were supposed to be at the moment. It's now up to Rodgers to show progress and not take a step backwards this season.
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Post by Nishankly Wed May 20, 2015 11:26 am

Exactly, The sad part is that we could have established ourselves had it been for our inept transfer committee. We are very close, We just need patience and a few layoffs.
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Post by iftikhar Wed May 20, 2015 11:34 am

El Cujo wrote:but becaus he found early success and took us to 2nd
Mate, I don't understand why you go on playing this rhyme. If Rodgers was good enough to finish 2nd then he can be expected to repeat that. If that was a fluke, then he isn't good enough. Please note, we didn't expect him to win the league, we wanted to finish T4.

I understand that you can't accept anything against Rodgers. But he is human, eh??? And he has got serious limitations that became obvious this season and a depleted squad only made matters worse.

I think Rodgers has enough traits to be successful and make us successful too. But he needs to man up, fast.
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