Let's count the curses (as opposed to blessings) on why Liverpool Football Club is where it is this season.
1) Steven Gerrard has been off form. He's been a passenger, probably having the world cup on his mind and he's afraid to get injured, and not be able to travel to South Africa in June.
2) Xabi Alonso absence. The position and influence of Alonso have yet to be filled. Lucas is good but having to play in that position has inevitably brought out comparisons between him and Alonso. Alonso himself only shone after the Gareth Barry fiasco, which I blame Benitez for. Rafa could have handled the situation more subtly.
3)Rafael Benitez is not that creative. At the begining of this season, Sir Alex Ferguson predicted that Liverpool will not be a threat because "we already know how Liverpool play." Rafa in response said something like, this is football, there are only so many ways to play football....
4) Bad management. Hicks and Gillette should take the blame, too, although there is no direct connection between what happens in the boardroom and on the field. But, it adds to the feeling of security and subsequently, in confidence to the players. It helps to know the owner actually knows how football are played. That's why it's called football! You not supposed to use your hands (I don't know what we should call the game they play in the US where you are supposed to carry the ball to the touch line in order to score...duh!).
5) Bad fengshui. Liverpool's collection of silverware increased only marginally after they change the shirt sponsor to Carlsberg. Well, not so bad actually, one Champions League, one Uefa Cup, two FA Cups and three League Cups.... but, no Premiear League Title. In fact, of the so called big four, only Liverpool haven't won it. Even Blackburn Rovers won it once (94-95 season).
1) Steven Gerrard needs a rest... maybe that's what he's been trying to do when he showed a "V" at Wigan to the refree and then ran the length of the pitch to elbow Michael Brown in the head during the Portsmouth game.
2) Give Aquilani more play time. He maybe lightweight, but he's shown enough to tell us that he's got the skills... just needs more time in the EPL environment. Besides we paid a lot of money for him... use him for heaven sake!
3) Rafael Benitez (actually, I like him) will have to go. Get the Special One.... Mourinho never won the Champions League with Chelsea, but he knows how to win the EPL. But, maybe he has learned enough during his stint with Inter.
4) Hicks and Gillette will have to go, too. Get some people who really knows and understand the significance of "Real Football" to the world to manage the club. The people who can actually appreciate the more than a century old traditions that's connected to clubs like Liverpool. People like the fans.... and maybe a couple of Arabs with spare change.
5) At least, something is done about the shirt sponsor. I truly believe that Standard Chartered will bring properous change to Anfield and also to Stanley Park where the new stadium will be built... Who knows, we may be calling it the StanChart Stadium.
OK. The season's over for me. I hope LFC can somehow, get to the fourth place, although, I am skeptical. Even, if we had won the game at Old Trafford, it is meaningless if we can't win against the likes of Wigan or Wolves or Stoke.... at home or away. It's a season of shame for me... Portsmouth, a club in a myriad of trouble, only won 6 times this season, and Liverpool was one of the those who lost at Fratton Park.... That's shameful for a Club of Liverpool's stature...
This season can't end fast enough......