Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Could Crashing out of Champions League Be Good For Liverpool?

Ian Wright makes the case, and I think he makes it well:
Liverpool's season could blow up right in front of their faces this week - and I am not referring to that blooming red beachball.

All jokes aside now. The loss at Sunderland, not helped by an inflatable, has left boss Rafa Benitez staring at a defining point in the season - and it's still only October.

It could all be over for them by next Sunday.

Liverpool are at home to champions Manchester United after facing Lyon in the Champions League this week, looking up from a worrying third place in their European group.

Losing to the French club will leave them floundering in Europe and facing an undignified and unexpected exit in the group stage.

It sounds shocking... but maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Ask Liverpool fans - and I have and I know quite a few - and they will tell you the Premier League is the trophy they want above all others.
After Sunday, the Reds have lost four games in the Premier League this season, that is one more than Liverpool lost all of last year, and we are only at gameweek 9. Liverpool have looked very shaky at the back, even leaving the red balloon incident aside. As Sunderland found this weekend, without Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, there is little threat. Add to the missing is Dirk Kuyt, injured as well, and Liverpool have lost their three best goal scoring threats. As Liverpool's opponents have found (as well as the rest of the league) there is not a lot of depth on the Liverpool bench.

But Liverpool run a real risk right now of dropping out of the top half of the table. Liverpool sit 8th with 15 points. Liverpool could very lost to Manchester United on Sunday at Anfield, and wins by Stoke City(away to Tottenham this week) and Burnley (home to Wigan) could see Liverpool drop to 10th. (Note, Stoke may not win at Tottenham but Burnley has a 100% record at Turfmoor). Now I don't see Liverpool finishing in the bottom half of the table, but Liverpool, financially, have to make the Champions League next year. That is why crashing out of this year's Champions' League by the end of hte year will be helpful to Liverpool--their attention won't be divided and they can focus on finishing in the top 4. Without Champions' League money in the 2010-2011, Liverpool's owners, Tom Hicks and George Gillette will be forced to sell-their debt load is simply too high.

Focusing on the League will benefit Liverpool. However, while crashing out of the Champion's league could mean Rafa Benitez cashing his last Liverpool paycheck.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/football/2689805/It-could-be-over-by-Sunday-Rafa.html#ixzz0UU11JnLH

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