Monday, October 18, 2010

John W. Henry finally buys Liverpool only to Watch the Team Fail

John W Henry New Owner watches from the stands Liverpool 2010/11 Everton V Liverpool (2-0) 17/10/10 Photo: Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
The steely gaze of a winner...
Well, I've decided that after this weekend's action I'll be focussing on Liverpool a bit. Of course they'll be some coverage of the other leagues, but a little less than usual.

And before I begin, just in case you haven't already seen these posts, you should because they're getting insane amounts of views! I posted a Lightweight Soccer Cleats Review over the weekend comparing speed cleats on weight, price, durability, and anything else you can think about. And if you're interested in FREE STUFF, you probably want to check out the competition over at Soccer Cleats 101 to win a pair of Nike Mercurial Superfly II's.

A new era for Liverpool... which starts next week

But moving on to other things, Liverpool are (supposedly) moving on to better days now that John W. Henry has taken over with his New England Sports Ventures (or NESV) for 300 million British Pounds. Things are looking rosy for the red side of Merseyside now, especially because the new American is really trying to mend relationships with the fans which were undoubtedly damaged under the reign of Tom Hicks and George Gillet.

John W. Henry even went out to talk to fans and local MPs, and although he has surely reassured them, he didn't reveal anything regarding transfer funds, or a new stadium. Here's what he said regarding his meetings:

"It was great to finally get to work, we met with supporters' groups. No, we didn't give any assurances. We are here to listen and to learn from them and we learned a lot today. I think the biggest issue was a sense of disenfranchisement and their sense of not being part of their own club and that is what we discussed. This was a big first step today."
And so Liverpool fans now have an owner who will listen, all that we were missing was for the actual team to spank Everton in the Merseyside derby, but alas the situation isn't that perfect. Liverpool were defeated by Everton 2-0 at Goodison park, and while John W. Henry went to the match to learn more about this "soccer", he'll have understood that the team played pretty badly.

Tim Cahill Scores 1st goal past Liverpool's Pepe Reina Everton 2010/11 Everton V Liverpool 17/10/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Tim Cahill smacking in the first goal
Everton who have been playing well this season, but not getting results, finally got an important win which drags them up to 11th in the Premier League. They wen't ahead with Tim Cahill smashing a volley from close range, and then Mikel Arteta scored from outside of the box after a corner. After the two goals, Everton conceded possession to Liverpool, and while you'd expect Roy Hodgson's side to do something with it, they didn't.

It was undoubtedly a bad performance from Liverpool, one which some might say was lacking heart and spirit, but I think that maybe they're just lacking a lot of things in general. Starting with their manager, Roy Hodgson who could only stare at his watch instead of actually telling his team to do something with the ball.

Is Time Running Out for Roy Hodgson Manager Liverpool 2010/11 Everton V Liverpool (2-0) 17/10/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Roy must've looked at his watch the whole game...
If you disliked Benitez's defensive style back when he managed Liverpool, Roy Hodgson is taking it to another level. But I should stop talking about Liverpool's performance, and share with you what Roy thought about his side's performance:

"In the second half that's as good as I've seen a Liverpool team under my management play, that's for sure... and in my opinion from what I saw we dominated the second half. I thought the shape of the team was good, I thought the quality of our passing and movement was good, but we didn't score the goals and Everton did. But I refurse unfortunately to sit here and accept that we were in any way outplayed or in any way inferior."
Now even if you watched about 40 seconds of the match, you'd have had a better idea of how the teams played than Roy Hodgson did. And while he can talk about his team's "quality of passing", the point of the game is to score, and if you don't score, you don't win. Everton scored and Liverpool didn't, that should be enough to explain to Roy Hodgson that his side played poorly, but I guess it takes a new American owner who just watched his first match of soccer to explain that to him...

A happy Wayne Rooney on the Subs Bench Manchester United 2010/11 Manchester United V West Bromwich Albion (2-2) 16/10/10 The Premier League Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom
Manchester United - West Bromwhich Albion

Moving on to other things which happened this weekend, in the Premier League we saw Manchester United crumble to West Bromwich. While Ferguson's side took a 2-0 lead before halftime, Roberto Di Matteo inspired his side to pull back two goals and get a great 2-2 draw at Old Trafford. This result comes in a very bad time for Ferguson, especially because Wayne Rooney has decided to explain that he isn't injured, the manager just doesn't want to play him.

So the question is, Ferguson first decided not to play Rooney to protect him after the prostitution scandal, but now it seems like the Scotsman has taken things to another level. And doing so, Rooney has decided to look at other options instead of renewing his contract with Manchester United. It seems very possible that he'll be out of the club when January rolls around, with the main buyers being either Real Madrid or, wait for it... Manchester City!

So will Rooney join up with Ronaldo under Jose Mourinho over in Madrid, with Benzema possibly going the other way, or will he decide to truly betray Manchester United, just like Tevez did, and go to Manchester City. We'll just have to wait and see, whether the relationship will mend between player and manager, or whether it'll be another superstar which leaves Old Trafford.

Inter Milan's Samuel Eto'o celebrates after scoring against Cagliari during their Italian Serie A soccer match in Cagliari October 17, 2010. REUTERS/Mario Rosas (ITALY - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Serie A time!

But it's not all English Premier League here, I've decided to talk a little about the Serie A. Especially since there was a match this weekend which was temporarily stopped due to racist chants. Cagliari at home against Inter Milan was filled with racist chants from Cagliari fans towards Samuel Eto'o, so the referee Tagliavento stopped the match, got the racist fans to stop chanting, and resumed the match. Well, the home fans got what they deserved, because the match finished 1-0 for Inter Milan, with a spectacular goal from  Samuel Eto'o.

Now Rafa Benitez can look forward to Wednesday when he'll have to face Tottenham in the Champions League. Inter Milan will surely be missing Diego Milito and Esteban Cambiasso, but the Spurs will be missing Rafael van der Vaart, so I guess both sides will be slightly weakened.

If you're interested in more coverage of the Serie A, I'd advise you to visit Serie A Talk, where I write a weekly Five things to Note from Serie A this weekend.

La Liga time!

In La Liga we saw two interesting matches, played out by guess who? Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Catalans faced Valencia in a tough game where they came back to win 2-1 with a beautiful give-and-go by Xavi and Iniesta which ended with the latter slotting home an equalizer. The second goal was also impressive with Carlos Puyol showing us all how to do a bullet header, the caveman captain had his hair flying everywhere as he arched his body and headed the ball home for the winner.

But there's some bad news for Barca fans even with this win, it's that Xavi probably won't play in the Champions League midweek against Copenhagen. The midfielder has had recurring problems with his achilles tendon, and he hasn't been recovering very well. I hope this won't seriously jeopardize his career considering that he's the best passer of the ball which exists in the game today. We'll just have to wait and see.

Real Madrid on the other hand had a pretty easy win against Malaga with Higuain and Cristiano Ronaldo scoring doubles. Ozil assisted both of Ronaldo's goals, and Ronaldo assisted both of Higuain's goals, so I guess Mourinho has really developed a working system over in Madrid.

But the true test for Real arrives on Tuesday against AC Milan in the Champions League. This is going to be a fantastic match, and I can't wait to see whether Jose Mourinho will win against his former rivals, or whether Ibrahimovic will teach his former coach a lesson by scoring a couple of goals.

I hope you've enjoyed this wrap up of some of the weekend's news and results, please share your thoughts by commenting below!

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