Posted by: Paul | October 10, 2010

Liverpool: Too Good To Go Down?

With the international break on this weekend and thus no Spurs match to write about, it gives me an opportunity to muse on the fortunes – or not – of another team.

I feel for Liverpool fans right now. For as sure as all the players and the management team will try to put off-pitch events out of their minds and concentrate on their jobs, they can’t help but be affected by the enormous uncertainty hanging over the club – and it’s shown in their performances and results. The 2-1 home defeat to Blackpool last week was the mouldy cherry on the crap cake – Liverpool are in serious trouble. If anyone was previously in denial, it stopped then.

Make no mistake, this week is a huge one in the history of Liverpool FC. They await a court judgement this coming Friday on whether current chairman Martin Broughton (brought in to facilitate the sale of the club) was the sole person who had the authority to appoint or remove board members. The reason this is important is that lambasted owners Tom Hicks and George Gillette removed two of the directors supportive of the sale in order that they could block it. Determined that if they’re going down, they’re taking the club with them, Gillette and Hicks’ actions will, if successful, put the mighty Reds in serious danger of relegation.

If the decision goes against Broughton and the club is not sold to prospective buyer New England Sports Ventures, Liverpool’s major creditors RBS will place the club into administration, meaning the Premier League will impose a nine-point penalty. With Liverpool already languishing in 18th place, a point from safety, reducing their total to minus 3 points will make it all they can do to stay in the Premier League this season.

Basically, it all boils down to money. Hicks and Gillette paid over the odds for Liverpool in the first place, and they are in a no-win situation where they stand to lose a fortune. If they lose the case and the club is sold, they lose out on a £140 million investment. If they win the case and succeed in blocking the sale, RBS will place it into administration, Liverpool will be docked 9 points and Hicks and Gillette will still lose £140 million as the bank calls in the debt. They are trying to make the club, and by turns the city, pay for their mistake.

So if the worst happens (as I think it might), what will become of the club who came second in the league just the season before last? Do they have enough in the tank to be able to fight their way out of a relegation battle? Glancing at the squad sheet you’d have to say ‘yes, Liverpool are too good to go down’ (that old chestnut), but the reality is that star striker Torres is misfiring and now injured again, the rest of the team are the bones of the carcass that Rafa Benitez left behind, and without any money to spend Roy Hodgson must find a way to make what’s essentially a lame nag win the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Steven Gerrard, good as he is, is not a one-man team. As I said, Liverpool are in serious trouble. Success two years ago was a long-cemented place in the Champions League and a shot at the title – success this year, would be simply staying up.

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