Where’s the Liverpool of Old

I used to love Liverpool back in the mid 90s, when they had Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Redknapp, and John Barnes. I don’t like the Liverpool of today, the Rafa Benetiz team of the past four or five years, despite some of their successes, and their respectable never walk alone fans, they just come across as lacking to me.

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Back then, Liverpool was a team like Barcelona, not nearly as dynamic, but equally skilled at keeping the ball and cutting teams apart with short, smart passes. They teased teams and taunted them – try and get the ball they’d ask. They racked up possession but scored goals too.

Now however, my love for Liverpool has faded. For some reason Rafa incites a dislike. Is he too arrogant? I don’t mind arrogance, as I love Mourinho. It’s just that Rafa acts maybe like he should get everything all at once without putting in the effort or the time. He will change the team, the tactics and in the end the character to get a win or a draw. He demands the most of his players but sort of drills all the heart of the side. His rotating of players is beyond playing youngsters in the FA Cup, it’s a week in week out occurrence.

And there’s just something about him that’s annoying. I don’t’ want him to win. I don’t care if they came back and beat AC Milan in the Champions League final, it was more of a collapse by AC Milan than a win for Liverpool.

Don’t get me wrong, how can you not like Fernando Torres. He is perhaps the best striker in the world. And Steven Gerrard, he’s a class player who can dribble, pass and score – does it all. But he too doesn’t somehow draw me in and make me want to like Liverpool as I did some ten odd years ago.

The Liverpool of old was a stylish team that won. The Liverpool of today, yes they have some exceptional players, players like Mascherano for instance, a force along the lines of Roy Keane, but so many different pieces have been plugged in that they’ve lost their charm. They are a team built to win the Champions League but won’t win it again under Rafa’s reign. I think the team is in trouble as injuries are starting to mount. Rafa’s time in England may come to an end.

I can’t put my finger on the exact reason I can’t like this Liverpool team. With Xabi Alonso now at Real Madrid they are having trouble finding the player to orchestra the attack. Perhaps that’s it. But I didn’t really like Liverpool even when Alonso was in the side either. Yossi Benayoun, he’s a smooth player who makes players miss, but I don’t really like him all that much either.

Liverpool is a mix of a bunch of players rather than a team. It’s an epic club who are now more of a business proposition. They must win but won’t. It’s a big club that’s ready to topple. They tried to plug holes with Crouch and Keane and others to no avail. And then dismissed them too easily.

Who will save them? I just hope we get to see the old Liverpool again. Maybe Kenny Dalglish will take over and return the team to its classy form of both wins and panache.