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Old 22-02-2013, 19:34
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Join Date: Sep 2004
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Posts: 3,983
Yes, 1992/93 was traumatic, especially coming relatively soon after a decade of almost continuous success in cup, league or both.

Souness was guilty of trying revolution rather than the tried and tested evolution and failed spectacularly.

Our sporadic purple patches since were largely due to unearthing some absolute gems - Gerrard has been pivotal, especially in tandem with the likes of Owen and Torres. Carragher and Hyppia came from nowhere. Sustaining a CL berth enabled us to attract the likes of Alonso, Mascherano and Torres in a period of fat cat clubs but losing that berth meant such players left us and/or attracting like-for-like replacements was very difficult.

So Rodgers has inherited a team eroded from Rafa's final season, neglected under Hodgson and having undergone a very expensive yet quickly fading paint job under Kenny.

The owners are evidently paying more attention to the foundations than the facade. Rodgers was seen as a longer term overseer of a more careful, understated rebuild given he had less resource and was mandated to sell off some of the antiques to finance things.

It's a far more sensible approach than that under Souness. We can't expect to challenge for title honours when the likes of City and Chelsea have bottomless pockets and United have the carrot of CL football and a rich recent history of success to call upon.

We should focus on catching the likes of Arsenal and Spurs first and that's not unrealistic given Arsenal's (or is that Arsene's?) penny pinching and the fact Tottenham are (at least) as heavily reliant on one player as we are.

The days of a relatively modest team (like the excellent mid-80s Everton side) coming from the shadows to grab the title are long gone - the financial imbalance is too pronounced. So the likes of Liverpool have to look at the two staged approach of gaining CL status first and then using that to build a side capable of challenging in the league. It's a depressing aspiration to want just 4th spot but sadly it's a prerequisite for doing anything more.

The recent decline stems from 2009/10 and isn't something newly created by a hapless young manager as some like to promote. Looking at what we're competing with, the limited budget and a leaner, younger squad, I think we're at least doing a damn good stabilising job this year and the signs are we'll push on from that next season.

I've been following the drama since 1976 and have felt much lower than I do at the moment. You've got to reassess expectations realistically and not use history as a measure of where you should be - call it the Aston Villa Effect if you will. I'm not lacking ambition, I'm just being true to myself.
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