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Roy Blames Babel and Jovanovic, Plus Some Rafa

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dude. like. dude.
Life, the Universe, and coming to grips
with Liverpool Football Club.

I wonder what the line is on whether the match against Wolves on Wednesday will go ahead? More to the point, I wonder if some glorious, wonderful, magnanimous betting site will pay me to shove our five Australian readers towards their site to bet on whether the match against Wolves will go ahead? For enough money I'll even get their name tattooed on my ass and run onto a field somewhere like that Golden Palace guy who seems to get paid to go to major events from here to Timbuktu...

* Presumably no matter how busy you've been over the past few days you've all heard by now that Rafa Benitez got officially officially fired by Inter just before Christmas, which gives me an excuse to talk about him briefly because, 1: He's Rafa, bitch, and 2: His agent said he doesn't see him ending up at Liverpool. Via Simon Clancy:

He has his home there but they already have a manager, they have a new project with new owners and a new director of football.

Liverpool are starting a new cycle and we need to respect these new people and see where they take Liverpool.

Rafa needs time to reflect upon his career, do some self-analysis, self-critique, and learn from past mistakes and come back stronger.

Fair enough, even if from a Liverpool standpoint I mightn't be the biggest fan of that whole "New cycle under the benign oversight of Roy Hodgson" part. In any case, given the chaos of the last twelve or so months of his life and that, realistically, he could probably retire tomorrow if that's what he fancied, it hardly seems a stretch that Rafa might take a couple of steps back to re-evaluate life, the Universe, and everything.

* Meanwhile, I don't know who Joe Bernstein is, but he appears to be the propaganda mouthpiece for somebody at the club. Quite possibly Roy Hodgson. Or at the very least somebody sympathetic to Roy Hodgson.

At first the article's talk of inflated contracts for Cole and Babel and etcetera seems entirely fair, as the author goes on about how it's Jovanovic's reported £60k a week that's keeping the squad from being shaped into an effective juggernaut by Hodgson since he refuses to take a transfer if it puts a dent in his salary. Of course, then one starts to remember that Jovanovic has often looked the best player on the pitch on the handful of occasions post-Northampton that he's been given half a chance. And then one glances back up the page and notices the author's thesis argument:

The situation is frustrating manager Roy Hodgson and director of football strategy Damien Comolli, who want to free up space in the club's 25-man Premier League squad.

Right, and here I was thinking we were a couple of players under the 25-man squad limit and that as such that could hardly be a hinderance upon improving the squad. Silly math and Premier League squad lists telling me things that don't mesh with the new "It's not Roy's fault!" argument: He could reshape the squad into a title contender if only those evil players like Jovanovic who have looked good when given the chance but haven't been given many chances would take pay cuts to be transfered out and free up spots on a squad that doesn't need spots freed up on to bring in a few new players. New players like Carlton Cole or Bobby Zamora, perhaps.

Once you readjust from the natural tendency to balk at the typically high salaries given to pro athletes, the whole article transforms itself into a bald-faced rant about how it's the evil overpaid stars ruining Roy's managerial stint at Liverpool, and if nothing major happens in January--either on the players or manager front--I rather expect this to become a major new talking point: Roy is struggling because Ryan Babel wouldn't take a pay cut to be shipped out. Because it's always somebody else's fault, and when it's the English Roy Hodgson in charge there are plenty in the media willing to parrot that line.

In other news, I'm not sure if I'm drunk or hung over right now, though I'm fairly sure I need some bloody football bloody soon to stop from going mad in any bloody case. I'm also not entirely sure if I'm fairly happy about things in general over this holiday season or hideously depressed from watching everybody celebrate the passing of another year. So in the meantime, enjoy something schizophrenic...