The Reds get it done at St James and Rafa can’t keep his mouth shut
What, with all the trials and tribulations on the international scene, the gaffer being given a public tongue lashing by the head guys you would’ve thought the boys at Anfield might be a little bit discombobulated. And you can guarantee that an injury-ravaged Newcastle were praying for it.
Traditionally Liverpool have struggled at St James Park. Not today.
Whether or not it was because Rafa felt the need to prove his ability beyond the shadow of a doubt to his foreign investors, or if it was because he took what they said to heart that prompted him to get the most from his squad, it is irrelevant. Whatever he did, he managed to get his lads to do the business against the hapless Magpies. If Torres could’ve finished his sitters, Shea Givens would have picked 6 out of his net. The ones that did go in (minus Dirk’s) were corkers, though.
Apparently the international break did little to slow down Liverpool’s mid-season momentum. In fact, it seems to have given new impetus. This is the team that we all saw against Chelsea — dynamic, creative and hungry — and the one we want to see coming into the all-important holiday break.
With European elimination looming large, we can only hope that this weekend’s performance portends the beginning of a new day for Liverpool.
Unfortunately, I have a terrible feeling that it might be a slow slide into midnight for Rafa if he keeps gobbing off. I said it before, he has to get his Spanish temper in check. This is not a battle he can win, and the more he opens his mouth the more petulant he sounds.
Regardless of how slighted he actually feels, Rafa needs to keep this spat and his uninformed rejoinders in camera. Because, as it always is in this type of conflict, it is the kids that stand to suffer most when it becomes public. As well as the lads played today, if this feud is allowed to continue it is only a matter of time before cracks will start to appear.
The Gillett/Hicks partnership might do well to get to Anfield before the 16th. This is not their first managerial rodeo, so they are well aware that an unhappy manager is an ineffectual manager. They should also appreciate that if this escalate any further it is more likely to come down to ultimatums than negotiations.
Regardless, it was a wondrous performance the team strung together. It made an old heart glad to watch them walk into someone else’s house and grab all three points — especially one as tight as St James Park is.