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Thread: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

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    Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory
    Solo
    Preface:

    I am back although I don't really feel like continuing with my wrestling diary, but I have found the motivation to actually write something so here I am telling a story. I have been reading some interesting football fantasy stories in the internet and it has given me the drive to make one my own here. Some things won't be accurate in the story but for most parts, I will try my best to get the right information. I am trying to put this into the perspective of the manager and how his life (family, football career, past events) affects his career as a football manager. I will try to stay with this thing for as long as I can and I hope you enjoy. I will also be using Football Manager 2012 for the simulation of results and I will build a story from there. Thank you.

    Prolouge: My One and Only

    January 1997 - I was a prospect from the famous Liverpool youth academy during this time where the likes of Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, Steven Gerrard and Jaime Carragher were playing alongside me for the Reserves Team of Liverpool Football Club, headed by Roy Evans as the first team manager. It's been around 7 years since the famous club has won the League Title and fans were already wondering if the future will be bright for this club.

    "I can guarantee you that our youth academy is pulling through and we are actually prepared to call up some exciting talents from the reserves team during the summer for next season. Take a look at them and then ask me about our chances for the title next season" - Roy Evans

    "I can tell you we have some hot prospects who are ready to make the cut and amongst those players are Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Jaime Carragher and 22 year old, Leo Evans" - Sammy Lee, Liverpool Reserves Manager (1997)

    We were all told before the FA Reserves Cup Finals game at May 1997 that if we do well in front of the watching scouts and most importantly, the manager (Roy Evans), then we could be considered to be included in the first team for next year. We were against West Ham's also blooming reserves team and it was a really tough game. I was a striker, by the way, a finisher and the smart type, the one who would always play for the better of the team.

    I was playing alongside Michael Owen and we have really formed a great partnership throughout the reserve season, combing a total of 40 goals out of the 67 scored. We took the lead at the 19th minute after a through ball by me to my strike partner, Michael Owen as he cooly slams it home past the keeper for the all important lead. Throughout the game, I was bullied by the defender who was apparently trying to shut me down. I proved him wrong however, as I slammed the ball past the keeper at the 59th minute to give my team the 2-0 lead, just perfect. The watching Roy Evans gave me a thumbs up and I knew in my heart, that I would be playing for the first team next season.

    I always loved the club, I grew up a Scouser and I have always supported them since. I have been through their epic league triumphs and also their disasters. However if I was to take anything from this team, it's that they always had the heart to fight back and they were always the team to beat. I love the club, and I will continue to even after I stop playing.

    Little did I know that it would come really soon. At the 83rd minute, frustrated West Ham players were just throwing tackles around in anger. I ended up being on a very nasty one from the same defender who tried to stop me. I clutched my leg and I couldn't dare look but I knew that something was wrong. Medics approached me as players around me hold their breath as they dare not to look at the extent of the injury. Me leg was positioned in a different angle as the medics quickly stretchered me off and rushed me straight into the hospital. I remember flashing lights in the ER before I passed out.

    "With an injury as nasty as that, you're even lucky that you are still able to walk, son. Nevermind playing for Liverpool, you can never play football again" - Doctor

    And just like that, my career has just ended before it even started. All of who I have played with have been successful as football players over the next decade and I couldn't bring myself to return to the game for the next few years. I, Leo Evans, love the sport although I couldn't bring myself to end it prematurely. I knew that there was a way back for football and so I took my coaching badges over the years and hope that I could become a successful manager and one day, maybe, return to Liverpool and lead them to past glory.
    Last edited by Solo; 12-17-2011 at 09:31 AM.
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 1:
    May 2011

    "And Valencia reach Champions League Football after finishing 2nd in the La Liga just 5 points off Barca and 2 points above Real Madrid". It's been a long ride since and I couldn't believe it, I have reached this far. I am currently 36 years old now and it felt like I have been managing my whole life. It all started with minnow side, Southampton and I lead them to promotion to the Championship where we finished in the mid-table. That's where I left off for a short stint at Championship side, Middlesbrough where we almost captured the FA Cup but we were stopped by Manchester United in the semi-finals. I then switched to Spain and managed struggling Real Betis for a while and led them to a decent mid-table finish before the break came - I was to manage Valencia - the superstar filled team including David Villa, David Silva and Juan Miguel Mata.

    The trio was my plan and I developed it to be one of the most feared partnerships in Europe. Unfortunately, two out of the three was sold to pay for the huge debt of the club and I was left to work around the last of the three, Juan Mata. The 2010-2011 season did not really start out well with 5 losses on the bounce during September-October. However we bounced back with some famous wins and we secured 2nd place in the La Liga table, just ahead of Real Madrid which was an amazing feat considering the players that they have bought.

    It has been around 4 seasons since I was tasked to manage Valencia and I left that giving them Champions League Football was a fitting farewell gift as I have decided to take a break from managing. Little did I know that when I returned to England and picked up the newspaper, this has been the on-going headline since by departure from Valencia:

    "Dalglish not taking up full-time Liverpool job. Unemployed Leo Evans rumored to fill up the spot of Liverpool"

    I immediately reached for the phone and dialed up with Liverpool's managing director and owners to confirm talks about taking the Anfield hot seat. Dream come true? Well it has been around 21 years since Liverpool last won a League Title and 5 years since they have won any title of sorts. With no European Football this season and with the club looking for someone to stabilize the team, this was going to be one hell of a bloody challenge. And so the journey begins here.
    Last edited by Solo; 12-17-2011 at 09:32 AM.
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    When Football Manager came out in October, I considered taking a break from booking the WWE to see if I could get a footballing one to be successful, never happened. Hopefully you can live the dream for me

    Best of luck, I'll be reading this and great to have you back in the section.

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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Loved that backstory, it was nice and detailed!

    I enjoy football manager stories and although am a Man Utd fan -D) I will definitley be reading this. I am interesting to see how you write it and whether you can "live the dream"

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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 2:
    June - July 2011

    "What are your thoughts on becoming the Liverpool manager"
    "Can you lead them to past glory? There has been several managers who came and went but none did not get the job done"
    "Who's going to be your first signing?"
    "What's your style of play going to be?"

    Ah the press, they never get old and their sole focus is to get a real story to show for the country. I have been in the managerial game for quite a while but when you're a manager of a top club in the Prem, there's always going to be pressure on you. I knew I had to choose my words carefully because any wrong word and that's going to go against my reputation as a manager. I couldn't even handle some of these questions because quite frankly, I haven't even met the United States Owners of the club. I knew what may game plan was going to be: the exciting and fast paced type, enough to gain attraction to the footballing style of the club after years of being conservative under Roy Hodgson and Rafa Benitez.

    Mr. Dalglish has resigned to a role in the Academy once again but he did leave me with some signings before he left the club:
    20 million pound signing from Aston Villa: Stewart Downing
    24 million pound signing from Sunderland: Jordan Henderson
    9 million pound signing from Newcastle: Jose Enrique
    13 million pound signing from Blackpool: Charlie Adam
    Undisclosed Fee from Nacional: Sebastian Coates

    With all these signings, we also needed to breakeven with our budget so Mr. Dalglish also took the initiative to sell some players and/or loan out some players to cut on the wage budget:
    Joe Cole to Lillie for 8 million pounds [Transfer]
    Alberto Aquilani to AC Milan for 12 million pounds [Transfer]
    Fabio Aurelio to Bayern Leverkeusen for 2 million pounds [Transfer]
    David Ngog to Bolton for 5 million pounds [Transfer]
    Soritis Kyrgiakos to Wolfsberg for free [Transfer]
    Jonjo Shelvey on loan to Blackpool [Loan/Part deal to bring Charlie Adam to Liverpool]
    John Flanegan on loan to Charlton Athletic [Loan]
    Brad Jones on loan to Nottingham Forest [Loan]

    With all these happening already, I was left with a budget of 25 million pounds, still enough to sign up that superstar signing that the fans want. They are all claiming that Luis Suarez is left with the burden of being the top scorer for this season and they also say that Andy Carroll should be sold to get something out of the 35 million pounds that we payed to get him. I'm not the bold type of manager and I like to give chances to some players. I just see the current number 9 of Liverpool as a challenge and I'd like him to prove all his critics wrong by being the star of this season. I spoke with Andy and he was a good lad, we even had time to get some lunch out as I revealed to him my plans for the future. We didn't buy him for this season alone, but for the seasons after and for the future.

    Some people are also claiming that the defense is too weak and that we need a partner for our other secured center back, Daniel Agger. Martin Skrtel isn't just a favorite and Jaime Carragher, a good ol' friend of mine, is too old to play a full season, all matches. I stuck to my gun and I didn't splash the cash knowing that Sebastian Coates can deliver seeing as he's had a good preseason. He's done well for Uruguay and I'm glad to have him on my squad. Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson are assured of a spot in the line up as well.

    Was there any doubt about the quality of Pepe Reina? I trusted him and I told him that one day, he will become the captain of Liverpool and he will also get his chance at Spain. I just worked some tactics with him and I can why people are claiming that he's one of the best keepers in the Prem. That's rubbish for me. He is the best keeper in the Prem.

    Which brings us to the midfield. Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam and Jordan Henderson are good buys and are useful squad players. However, they bring with them huge price tags and a promise to deliver from day one. It's kind of harsh on the lads but that's my job now, to help them settle in and somehow have an impact on the team. Lucas will always remain a mainstay in the team, proving all his critics wrong after being named Liverpool's player of the year last season, an impressive feat. He's still young and he can only get better which is why he will be an important player for this season. Dirk Kuyt has the lungs to run and the will to inspire other people to play. He's on the wrong side of 30 but he will also be vital to our chances this season. Stevie G is still out with an injury but we will all expect him back sooner or later because what's a crew without it's captain? I'll make a mental note that he's already 31 years old but he's still got it, that man.

    Which brings us to my all important signing. I have been waiting for this since I signed for Liverpool and I am given the right amount of money to purchase this man. I have worked with him for a long time and I believe that he's the missing piece in the puzzle for Liverpool. He'll be a great addition and this could be the man who will help us take the first step: Achieve entry into the Champions League place by the end of the season.
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 3:
    Early August [Transfer Window] + Flashback

    The press has been speculating as always and a number of strikers have been linked to the club including Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, Robin Van Persie, and among st others. I read the newspaper everyday and it seems like there has to be a new name linked to our club. 25 million pounds is a lot of money and that can either bring me a gem of a signing or a flop. Andy Carroll is not yet the star striker this season for me. He's got a huge price tag, that man and it is going to be a burden to live up to that price tag if I keep pinning my hopes on him even though the media expects me to considering the price tag. He's one for the future and he will play a role in this season. I have already given him a minimum target of 10 goals this season and we will see whether he will break this target.

    Back to the signing, I have already a name in mind and we have been having short talks since it was said by the Chairman of the Board that I was given 25 million pounds to sign a star striker. He was already the name I had in mind and I worked with him before. I forgot to mention that I worked with the Youth Team of Wolfsburg before I became a big time manager. I worked with this young lad and he had this ability to really put the ball at the back of the net. He was like a son to me and I tried to bring him when I went to Valencia but the club's debt was too much and we couldn't afford the man. Now he's one of the best strikers in the Bundesliga, a man that Germany looks to when they are in trouble and I have just secured his services on personal terms. I left it up to our managing director to secure the club agreement and finally the speculation is done and August 7, 2011; just a week before the Premier League starts, a new signing for Liverpool has been announced. He will be wearing the number 10 jersey for us and I tell the press that he will be good for us and that he will score loads of goals. A deal worth 24.7 million pounds. He comes from Bayern Munchen saying that he chose Liverpool because he wants to excel under my leadership and he has been a fan of the club since he was a young lad.

    Who is this man you may ask?

    Two words: Mario Gomez. The Champions League challenge is well and truly on!
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 4:
    Setting the Goals and Pre-Season; Summer and Early August

    I sat down with the Board at the start of August and we talked about the targets for this season. Champions League is always going to be their main target and that means finishing no better than fourth place. We talked about how the club is regressing these past few seasons and Kenny Dalglish only bought time for me during his short tenure here in the hot seat. They made it a point that I need to give back the fear instilled to the clubs coming to Anfield and make it a fortress again. They said that Champions League is not enough, I need to bring back the 'elite' status that every club in Europe has known us in the past. Basically, bring back the glory days.

    We then talked about the League Cup and the FA Cup. In Early August, I was set a date with Manchester United away in the first round of the League Cup knockout stage. The owners say that I do not really have to prioritize on these cups but I told them that these cups will be the stepping stone for success. I have set my own target with at least a Semi Finals showing in both the League Cup and the FA Cup. Is it possible? Well with no Europe this season, it is a big possibility and it gives us only three fronts to target. A treble? It's highly unlikely but I have always tried and I almost did it with Valencia.

    Pre season was good because players respond to me and they follow my tactics and way of playing. We faced Rangers for our first pre season game and we drew, 2-2. Andy Carroll got both goals and he proved to me that he is hungry for goals this season and he is hungry to step up and be the main man. It's my job to exploit that and that, I will do. Our second pre season game was against Burnley and we trashed them 5-0 with Andy Carroll (1), Craig Bellamy (2), Maxi Rodriguez (1) and Charlie Adam (1) getting on the scoresheets respectively. I usually use these matches for competition between these players and they have all given me a reason as to why I should start them in the opening day of the season. The last pre season game of the season was against Athletico Madrid, a side that I used to face in Spain. I have never beaten them in my time in Spain and that run continued as we slumped to a 2-1 defeat. Stewart Downing gave my side the lead but we let go in the end with 2 goals and lost the match that we should have won.

    All in all, it was a good pre season with no games showing that we don't have the skill to make it to the top. There's a job to be done and the board have put their burden on me, a young manager who aspires to do well. Whether if I do well or not will speak over time but I tell the press that I shouldn't be judged until the season is over. I tell them that patience is the key and that it will all come out in time. For the moment, I have to take it one step at a time and I will start with our season opener at Anfield, against Sunderland.
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    As I'm starting to get a bit more time on my hands I have been reading through the BTB (Wrestling and Non-Wrestling sections) this one struck my eye as I am an avid Pool' supporter. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this one and love what you have so far. Great work!







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    Here's to hoping this goes Steve or Ed's way. Nash your a poofter and a Donald supporter.
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    Tiger Woods v 1.0 was great but Tiger 2.0 is SHIT. That is all. Rory for Prez Fowler for Vice Prez and Luke Donald can suck my balls. MTF
    One of these days the clock will stop and time won't mean a thing.
    Dave Grohl/Foo Fighters
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Thanks man! Good to know that someone is reading my work. Hope you enjoy the rest!
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 5:
    A Promising Start

    As with every new manager, the players are always looking to impress and in the first few games, they always try their best to make themselves a regular fixture in the starting 11. I told them frankly "no man is bigger than the club, and no one's name is permanent on the team sheet". How did they respond? A resounding 3-0 win against Sunderland in the opening day of the season. Not bad for your first match in English, eh? Anyhow, I started with Reina in goal, Enrique, Agger, Skrtel and Johnson at the back, Henderson, Downing, Adam and Lucas in midfield with Suarez and Andy Carroll. I limited Mario Gomez to the bench because he still needed to settle in but I did give him a run out and boy did he make the most out of it. The first goal came at the 13th minute when Suarez simply waltzed past 3 defenders and slid a pass through the defense for Andy Carroll to slide home and his first of a promising season. The second came in the 69th minute when Suarez slid home from a Downing cross. The third came in the 90th minute when Mario Gomez headed in a cross from Henderson. All in all, the fans were happy and I was happy with the team performance.

    The press named us a "Champions League Hopefuls" this season and with a start like that, I'd bet on that. Our next match was against Arsenal and Arsene really tried his best to unnerve me by calling me a "rookie". The match was at the Emirates and it was a good game showed by the team which is exactly the same except I took out Downing for Maxi Rodriguez. The game ended 1-1 when Arsenal took the lead in the 39th minute with a brilliant finish from Van Persie. Daniel Agger then leveled up the scores in the 80th minute after a header from a Charlie Adam cross. It was a good away result although I felt we could have done better considering the "crisis" Arsenal was going through (they lost their next match against Manchester United 8-2!!). I felt we could have walked away with 3 points but these are the things we need to work on. Our captain, Steven Gerrard has been finally named fit for the next game against Bolton (who we swept past with a 5-0 scoreline (Carroll, Henderson, Suarez, Skrtel and Steven Gerrard). Yep, the captain returned with a goal which made the fans happy. So 7 points from a possible 9 and an aggregate scoreline of 9-1 in the first three games of the season. Things are looking up and up next comes the away match at Old Trafford in the League Cup knockout stage.

    "Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the most decorated managers in the business. Do you think your team can beat his in the upcoming League fixture?"

    "I'm not going to say whether we'll win or not but let me say this, I will relish this first of many battles with the "great" Mr. Ferguson"

    I said that with a sly smirk on my face because I knew that the challenge was there and I always thrive on challenges.

    *Note that not all matches will be in full detail. I have only done it in these first few games to give you guys the feel but I think I will be working on the important matches and give an update on the table ever so often*
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 6:
    First Time is Always Lucky

    "You'll Never Walk Alone" was sung by the away fans at Old Trafford as they get ready for the first round of the Carling Cup. The media has hyped this match as not really important and a report said that we are expected to field weakened teams as we look forward to our Prem games this coming weekend. Boy did I prove them wrong..
    Pepe Reina
    Martin Kelly - Jaime Carragher - Martin Skrtel - Jose Enrique
    Lucas Leiva
    Stewart Downing - Steven Gerrard - Craig Bellamy
    Mario Gomez

    Yeah, so I left Luis Suarez, Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam and Dan Agger on the bench but this was a strong enough team to hold on their own. I trusted Kelly on the right back to keep Nani shut while putting Enrique on the other with the same order on Ashley Young. I specifically made a special order for Lucas to man mark Wayne Rooney out of the game while giving Gerrard the freedom in attack. Mario Gomez has the task of finishing off the limited (I know that United won't give away a lot of chances) chances given. Belly and Downing on the wing for some pace as United's fullbacks are always vulnerable for the counter attack. I was pleased with my formation and United countered with the line up I fully expected from them:

    De Gea
    Jones - Smalling - Vidic - Evra
    Ashley Young - Michael Carrick - Anderson - Nani
    Wayne Rooney
    Danny Welback

    Ferguson said days before the match that he will be ruthless to us and that he will teach me a lesson about English football. Bloody Hell, we have a game on our hands an it didn't disappoint the fans nor the hype either. A solid line up from United and we got things underway. A tight first 30 mins saw little chances between the two but there was a dangerous ball from Nani which Pepe failed to catch, it sailed out however much to the relief of the fans. Our fullbacks were keeping check on the wingers of United and Lucas really kept Rooney in his pocket. That was until the 39th minute when he was set free by Danny Welbeck for him to slot home for the finish 1-0 to United.

    We held things till half time with United growing in stature after that goal but we stood our ground and made it to half time. On the balance of things, no one deserved the lead but as it stood at half time, it was United 1, Liverpool 0. I didn't make any half time changes and I just told my team to dictate the pace and make it faster to catch them out. Things payed off when Mario Gomez finished off a rebound following Gerrard's powershot from the edge of the area which was pushed away by De Gea. Gomez was there to pounce and things were levelled 1-1.

    The time was ticking and Danny Welbeck hit the post just minutes after we equalized following a brilliant cross from Nani. Mario Gomez was subbed for Andy Carroll while Downing was taken off for Dirk Kuyt. It looked like it was heading for extra time when Steven Gerrard picked up the ball and drove forward like the leader he is and slipped a through ball for Andy Carroll who faked the keeper to the left but he didn't have an angle to score so he pulled back for Dirk Kuyt to finish into an empty net! The away fans were going wild while I was dancing by the touchline! 87 mins gone and we took the lead 2-1! Dirk celebrated by kissing the badge as he was rumored to be leaving the club, that just pointed out that he was going no where.

    The whistle sounded and I was delighted by the win. Ferguson approached me, shook my hand and left without anything to say as I congratulated my players on a job well done. Stevie approached me afterwards and said he picked up a slight knock and said that he might not be available for the clash against Stoke City away.

    Our confidence got the better of us as we lost 1-0 against Stoke City with the goal coming from Peter Crouch. It was a disappointing loss but I've accepted that we won't win every game of the season. 7 points out of the 12 is not a bad start with Liverpool stuck at 7th place in the League Table and the next round of the Carling Cup to look forward to. I said to the press that as long as the team is united, then there will be no problem.

    That was until we visited White Hart Lane...
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Come on United!! You shouldn't be throwing leads like that away to Liverpool!!

    I'm interested to see your first team line-up on a consistent basis because as much as I hate Suarez, he is a great player and I'm just interested in seeing how Gomez and Suarez would play seeing as Suarez would typically take on the "Carlos Tevez" role of dropping back and playing around with the ball whilst Gomez would be the out and out striker.

    This is a good ready, perhaps have the team logos at the start of the match to make the matches seperate from the rest of the text? Just a suggestion as then it would be easier to know the start of the match and the end of the match...

    Good read though, enjoying it!

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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Yeah so far so good, interesting read

    Thought you would sign Mata after you wored with him brilliantly at Valencia but with Gomez signing(25m???), is it wise to have 3 strikers that cost 83m with only two places in the team

    Beating United is a good start to the cup but away form a problem so far in the league

    My lineup would be

    Johnson - Skrtel - Agger - Enrique
    Lucas - Gerrard(Henderson)
    Kuyt - Suarez - Downing
    Gomez

    Good luck with the next match



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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Thanks for the comment guys!

    Chapter 7:
    All Has Gone Mad

    "You'll Never Walk Alone" is sung by the away fans once more as we steady ourselves for yet another spectacle at White Hart Lane. One point out of six away from home isn't disastrous form but it is not Champions League form. Here we go against 4th placed Tottenham who had a decent start and we will sure be challenging them by the end of the season for that all important Champions League spot. I lined up with another tactical line up as the fans were also unsure of whether to cheer for it or not, nonetheless I always choose my line ups for a reason:

    Reina
    Johnson - Agger - Skrtel - Enrique
    Lucas - Adam
    Suarez - Henderson - Bellamy
    Gomez

    So the skipper (Gerrard) was out through injury that was aggravated when I pulled him off the bench at Stoke City last week. He'll be out for around 2 weeks and I told the press that it is of my doing that I should be handling him better. For my line up, I picked the usual solid back 4 (probably my back four for the season), Lucas and Charlie Adam as shielding midfielders with Lucas as the one picking up the balls and Adam distributing the balls (much like the Masch-Alonso combination). I put Suarez out on the right to expose Assou-Ekotto while Bellamy on the left to deal with the inexperienced Kyle Walker. Henderson is there to link up the play between the midfield and Mario Gomez, who plays on top.

    I told the players before the game to keep their cool because the home fans will try their best to knock them off and get them sent off. The whistle blew and just after that, I wished that it would end sooner.

    Modric picked up the ball in the 3rd minute and slid a pass through to Adebayor, who ghosted past the defense and slammed home the opener. I was not pleased by this because of how easily he went through my defense. I gave Agger a shout before we kicked off and we gave the ball away easily as Tottenham kept on piling on the pressure. It finally payed off when Modric (again) picked out Gareth Bale from the left he went down easily from a challenge from Skrtel as the referee unbelievably gave the penalty, he gave the freaking penalty. I was pissed off and I went straight to the fourth official and gave him a piece of my thoughts as my players surrounded the referee. Replays showed that there wasn't even contact between the two and Bale went down on his own, a disgrace I say.

    To make matters worse, Charlie Adam picked on Van Der Vaart, he was provoked by the Dutchman and the referee saw that and what did he do? He gave a straight red card, much to the dissatisfaction of the away fans while VDV only escaped with a yellow card, another disgrace. Modric picked up the ball and put it down on the spot and as he hit it, Reina saved it but it bounced off to Modric again who slammed home from the rebound! I wasn't taking any of this, we had to fight with 10 men for the next 70 minutes with 2 goals down! I immediately made a substitution to calm things down by taking out Jordan Henderson (who was clearly disappointed and he went straight through the tunnel, without talking to me) and I put on, Jay Spearing to shore up the midfield.

    We made it to half time without anything happening other than Tottenham hitting the post....thrice, no biggie. I told them in the dressing room that they are playing for the badge and that we were playing as individuals earlier. As we started the second half, I received a note from my second man that Charlie Adam (who was sent off earlier) had gone off the stadium and drove off! Unbelievable!

    The second half was not really as bad as the first but it was still bad nonetheless. Craig Bellamy slid in on Bale in frustration (with Bellamy already having a yellow card) and the ref had no option but to send him off as well. I was furious on the touchline as Bellamy simply ripped off his shirt as he walked down the tunnel. I was incensed at this game and it was made worse when Adebayor lached on to a cross from Kyle Walker for a simple header past Pepe. 3-0 with 40 minutes left to play.

    Tottenham were really playing around us and they were simply playing us out of the park! The commentators were talking about how this is the Premier League, not your usual Sunday Football on the park. Matters almost looked bright when Suarez was sent through and he dazzled past a couple of players before getting on the touchline and swinging in a beautiful cross which Gomez headed...unto the post! Our only real attempt of the game it was against the post, how unlucky.

    It was soon 4-0 at the 90th minute as Adebayor completed his hat trick following a run from Gareth Bale and he simply slid it to Adebayor from the edge of the box as the striker simply passed it home! Home fans were chanting "You're getting sacked in the morning" but credit to the away fans, they were singing their hearts out from start to finish and it looked as if none of them walked out when it was getting bad. Credit to them, they know how to lose with us. The only positive from probably the worse game of my career as the final whistle blew and the misery finally ended. I couldn't take it anymore as I walked down the tunnel immediately and waited for the players to come back to the locker room...

    "You lads played a stinker. You didn't play for the team or the fans, you played for yourselves..."

    There were harsh words towards them and rightly so. I had to face the media afterwards...
    Follow: WWE 2011 by Solo at the BTB Forum

  15. #15
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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Wow thunped by Spurs with 9 men....... sounds very familiar

    Henderson taken off, personally I would have hauled Bellers off and put Henderson wide. Everything that could have gone wrong did, even Gomez missing sitters

    Lots of dissension in the ranks, big money ones too. Wheres Carroll haha

    Not a good start to Liverpools season but theres a long way to go still



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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 8:
    Restoring Pride

    "Is this the man for the job?"
    "He's too young to take on the burden of taking charge of this club"
    "Where's the discipline?"
    "Relegation for Liverpool at the end of the season"
    "Headless manager leads Liverpool to another loss"

    These were the headlines that I obviously expected and it really does speak much about the media in this country. One day, you're made to look like a hero but in the next, you're staring at the face of getting the sack. I clearly had to put my foot down and claim authority as I took action with the disgusting actions of Charlie Adam (who drove from the stadium during the match after receiving a red card) and Craig Bellamy (who tore his shirt as he was substituted). They were fined and I made them train with the youth team. Furthermore, I gave a talk to the squad before a home match with Wolves. I told them that we've had a rough start. But the only way we could go was up, Tottenham got lucky with some referee decisions and I told them not only to fight for the club but for the fans who sang their heart out even though they knew that the match was more than over just 20 minutes before the final whistle sounded.


    I went up to Andy and told him that he was starting the next match in a 3 man forward line that I am looking to implement. I'm going to put down a 4-1-3-2 formation for our game against Wolves which sees Johnson - Skrtel - Agger - Enrique at the back, Lucas as the defensive mid, Gerrard - Suarez - Henderson with Suarez as the player playing behind the two strikers as Gerrard and Henderson will have free roles in the attacking wings. On attack? Mario Gomez and Andy Carroll partnering up. Boy did it pay dividends as we beat Wolves 3-0 to restore some pride and finally a win after 2 losses. Skrtel first scored with a header from the corner, he was soon followed by Steven Gerrard who scored with a typical long range shot while Andy Carroll rounded off the win with a header from a Henderson cross. At least some pride has been restored but it seems as if the squad will take some time to recover from that Tottenham loss. It's going to be a challenge but I also need to regain the respect of the fans. The way to do that?

    Beat Everton in the Merseyside Derby! My first ever Derby and it's sure to be one hell of a match. Well at least most of these types of matches are. I guess that sometimes, you do get help from the unlikeliest of sources. Challenge accepted, Goodison Park, here we come!

    **Btw, Liverpool was around 7th at this time just 5 points behind league leaders, Manchester United (who else?)**
    Follow: WWE 2011 by Solo at the BTB Forum

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    Re: Liverpool: A Manager's Journey to Past Glory

    Chapter 9:
    The Merseyside Derby

    It's going to be a few tough next fixtures with Everton away followed by Man United at home in the league. Then in between there's a League Cup match with Arsenal at home. Some say that these next fixtures would go on to define our season and it's best that I took this one game at a time. I set my priorities and told my players that we are going to focus on the Merseyside Derby first, forget everything else. One of the most heated rivalries in English football and in these types of matches, the form book always goes out the window. I told my players some important notes but at the end of it all, I told them to feel the passion, feel the crowd and the intensity that this match brings. I told them to make it their own and show everyone who's the top dog in Merseyside. It was a tough ground to get a win at, Goodison Park. I was still in Bayern Leverkusen when we faced Everton in the Europa League a couple of years ago, it was a tough match which ended in a rather harsh 1-0 loss. Today, however, will be different. I walked out of the dugout and there was abuse by the Toffees while some resounding applause from the Scousers. I told myself that I was going to enjoy this match, because this is promising.

    I lined up with this line up:
    Reina
    Johnson - Skrtel - Agger - Enrique
    Lucas - Henderson
    Kuyt - Gerrard - Downing
    Suarez

    Big decision? Keep Mario Gomez in the bench. He's picked up a few yellow cards lately and I didn't want to risk him getting a red in this type of match where tackles are just flying around. Kuyt's always been a big game player in these types of matches so I put him in and he didn't disappoint from the off. There was a goal in the first 45 seconds which involved Gerrard's cross being met with Suarez's header only for Tim Howard to push it away into the path of Dirk Kuyt who pounced on the loose ball and tapped home to an empty net. What an amazing start! Liverpool were able to hold their own as the home crowd pushed their side back into the match. Everton eventually settled in and started playing their game, passing the ball around, trying to get into our box. There was a close chance when Fellaini headed against the post. The goal eventually came after Leon Osman dinked the ball over the defense and Tim Cahill got on the end of it and slotted home past Reina. It was a beaufitul equaliser, I had to admit but I had to reassure the players to keep their cool and play their game.

    Half time came and I told the players that they completely switched off in the match. Where was the defence when Cahill was sent through? How can you allow him that much space? I also told Suarez to get his game on before I make a tactical switch on sending Gomez on because Downing was completely anonymous in this match. Such a waste that he's not really produced that much in this season. 2nd half started and both teams were allowed to settle in the first 10 minutes or so before I brought in Gomez for the ineffective Downing, sending Suarez to the left hand side while Kuyt stayed on the right. We were immediately punished as Cahill went down in the penalty area following an almost no contact push from Agger, as replays showed that Cahill did make the most out of the challenge. The crowd certainly played their part. The referee pointed to the spot as Leighton Baines stepped up and slammed home the kick with around 25 minutes left in the match.

    That was when our side stepped up their pursuit of a goal as Suarez finally turned on and weaved through a few players before slamming the post with a swing of his right foot. Gomez had the followed up saved as doubts started to build in their minds. Finally, a break for us as Leon Osman lunged in a challenge on Steven Gerrard and received a second yellow, meaning that Everton had to finish this match with 10 men! It was a tense last 15 minutes as my side pushed on and on with Everton getting all men behind the ball. Eventually, we hit the mark at the 87th minute when Gerrard hit a long range shot only for Tim Howard to push it wide. Kuyt received it and swung in a cross as Gomez missed the header but Luis Suarez was there to pounce and head into an empty net! Jubilation for the Liverpool fans as I remained unmoved on the touchline, Steven Gerrard telling his players to go on with the game. Luis Suarez, who was criticised for diving in the past few games, made a fake dive celebration in front of David Moyes, who was one of the front men accusing the Uruguay striker of diving. Classic moment. But as the manager, I told Suarez to get his game going and keep on playing his game. There was more drama in the end as Phil Jagielka flied into a two footed challenge on Suarez and received a straight red as Skrtel went straight in and pushed Phil as the referee also pulled the red card on him, shockingly. Both managers were on the pitch and we were complaining to the referee, who's probably lost control of the match. Everton finished with 9 men while we finished with 10.

    But the match did not end yet as in the last minute of stoppage time, Agger sent in another long ball into the Everton box as Gomez knocked it down and Steven Gerrard was there to pounce and smash it into the top corner!! Ultimate jubliation for the away fans as Gerrard jumped into the crowd and celebrated while I slid by the touchline, celebrating as the away crowd cheered! Little did either of us notice that the linesman flag was up, indicating that Mario Gomez has offside when he knocked down the header! Stevie eventually got back into the pitch and got a second yellow for jumping into the crowd, as his goal was disallowed. This referee has completely lost his mind as our captain was sent off to cheers from the away support. The Liverpool players were surrounding the referee as replays showed that Gomez was clearly onside! I went straight to the 4th official and he got a piece of my mind. I was eventually sent to the stands in this crazy match as the referee sounded his whistle to signal the end of this match.

    The away fans boo'ed at the whistle as the referees quickly escaped the scene with Liverpool players surrounding him and Luis shouting at the main referee. The referees exited the tunnel and left as the Liverpool players were left frustrated at the end of this match. What a match though, a match I'd never forget in my management here at Liverpool. The interview afterwards regarding the match? It wasn't pretty. But we had other things to focus, starting with Arsenal in the League Cup followed by Man United at home in the league. A rough start, shall I say. But a battling effort for my team to come back in the last few moments.
    Spoiler:

    Match Report: Liverpool vs Everton (H)
    Goal Scorers:
    Dirk Kuyt after 45 seconds
    Tim Cahill at 35 minutes
    Leighton Baines at 65 minutes
    Luis Suarez at 87 minutes

    Red Cards:
    Leon Osman at 75 minutes
    Phil Jagielka at 90 minutes
    Martin Skrtel at 90 minutes
    Steven Gerrard at 90 + 4' minutes

    Follow: WWE 2011 by Solo at the BTB Forum

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