Like many/most Newcastle fans I sat down last night to watch the team, with absolutely no expectations.
No expectations of a win or even a point, nor any of even really having a go or any entertainment.
We know there is only one man who is really to blame for all of this and he is just laughing at us, sitting in his mansion drinking champagne out of a massive Sports Direct mug.
The only way anything will ever change, of any consequence, is when Mike Ashley no longer has anything to do with Newcastle United.
So I/we understand all the issues but, sorry Rafa, I don’t know how long I can keep on watching this.
No, this isn’t an attack on the tactics used by the Newcastle Manager.
That is pretty immaterial for me.
No doubt in this ‘Football Manager’ age there will be plenty of (mainly younger) fans saying why didn’t he use this or that formation, it could have been so different…
No, it wouldn’t.
The reason Newcastle hardly got a kick at Anfield is because our players aren’t very good, not our tactics.
You could have played two up front, Newcastle could have pressed higher, they could have had a diamond in midfield, or whatever, the outcome would have been just the same.
The Newcastle players would still have been incapable of retaining the ball, incapable of hurting Liverpool, incapable of putting any pressure on a Reds defence that hasn’t been great this season.
Against Manchester United we had one of those one-off games where everybody raised their games and that collided with a Man U team that obviously have internal problems and egos that aren’t rubbing along smoothly. However, pretty much every other game against a decent side has been a case of Newcastle trying to defend and keep the score down, hoping to keep it level or no more than a goal down, then maybe having a bit of a go in the last 15 minutes or so.
It is painful to watch and so unnecessary.
Newcastle fans don’t expect to be suddenly signing £70m+ defenders like van Dijk, or £75m+ on Lukaku.
However, there is an awful lot of leeway between that and your star striker signing being £5m for Stoke reserve and journeyman Joselu.
He epitomises the position Rafa and his team have been put in by Ashley, an honest trier who isn’t good enough, runs around all day but probably not even a Premier League player.
If Mike Ashley adopts a similar approach in the Summer transfer market, assuming Newcastle stay up, can you honestly say you are looking forward to next season?
We were already sick to death of clinging onto the Premier League under Alan Pardew and asking ‘What is the point?’, we might like Rafa a whole lot more but that question would just be the same.
If Rafa had been allowed to spend £50m-£60m (in total) on a striker, number 10 and decent winger/attacking midfielder, then I honestly think Newcastle could be giving everybody a game this season, even Man City and Liverpool. Yes the odds would say we would still get beat but we could have given them a proper game and just maybe have got something more (I know we got a point at home to Liverpool but it was a horrendous game of all out defence and just the one chance – a bit like Saturday at Anfield) and entertained a little.
That £60m wouldn’t even have been £60m extra spending as you wouldn’t have then wasted £5m on Joselu, £6m on Atsu, £10m on Murphy (though he is young and does look to have some potential) and you could have sold off one or two such as Perez for £5m or so to help create room.
I think Rafa Benitez, given even half-decent money to spend, would be able to find value in the market and give us players who are significantly better than the likes of Perez, Atsu, Shelvey, Joselu, Gayle and others.
Newcastle fans have bought into the idea that this is a season where survival is the only important thing…but that is in the context of then expecting we can build for better from that point.
We can be better than just plucky also-rans, in it just to make the numbers up and permanently in fear of going down.
It just needs a little ambition and at the same time that would encourage Rafa Benitez to stay.
(To read the match ratings for Newcastle players at Anfield go HERE )
(To read Alan Shearer’s instant reaction to the game HERE)
(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0 – Read it HERE)
(Read what Jurgen Klopp had to say after the match HERE)