Former Liverpool player Nick Tanner on the team’s season so far


Nick Tanner (born 24 May 1965) is a former footballer who played professionally for Bristol Rovers, Liverpool, Norwich City and Swindon Town. He was a defender. | Photo: Getty Images

Nick Tanner shares his views on Liverpool’s season so far with an insider’s eye.

He joined Liverpool from Bristol Rovers in the summer of 1988. Tanner a competitive defender was signed by Graham Souness for £20,000 and played a total of 40 games for the Anfield club scoring one goal. He moved to Norwich and later Swindon Town before being forced to retire in 1994 due to a reoccurring back injury.

Having started the season with optimism about gaining their first Premier League title, Liverpool again look to have come up short again.There’s no doubting LFCs strongest 11 is a match for anyone and had they been able to field them all season the title could have been theirs.

Torres and Gerrard have played only 15 or so times together in the Premier League and unfortunately there’s no strength in depth among the strikers.
Therefore decision to sign and then sell Robbie Keane being one of the stranger decisions in a long line that Mr Benitez has made.

Personally I don’t think he was given a fair chance to prove he could be a great Liverpool player, he could have been a Peter Beardsley type player, linking back to front had he been given the chance.

There have been some massive pluses though, Alonso (another Rafa looked to offload in the summer) and Mascerano have had a fantastic season and compliment each others game superbly, and Gerrard playing in behind Torres was a masterstroke by Benitez, it’s a shame he didn’t try it earlier, then he wouldn’t have had to try the Robbie Keane experience.

The title looks like going United’s way again unfortunately but Liverpool have progressed, and it’s only the size and quality of the squads that has counted in the end.

Don’t forget, head to head with the top 4 Liverpool come out well on top, but it’s the old Achilles heel of dropping points against the “lesser” teams that have cost them dearly again, and sadly its another season without the one thing the fans dream of most, The Premier League, and sadly this season there is no other Silverware either to ease the pain.

Football has changed dramatically since LFC last won the League title. In those days players could kill games off by constantly playing the goal back to the keeper when leading 1-0 and he could then pick it up and bounce it 5/6 times before rolling it back out to a defender and so on and so forth, and LFC were the masters of the 1-0 wins in those days.

The changing of the back pass rule was designed to stop all that and I’m sure LFC suffered more than most because of this, that is how you were brought up at LFC to get the ball off the keeper and try to play out from the back, and any problems give it back to the keeper and start again! Now if you give it back he whooshes’ it down the field Wimbledon style!

That’s why Torres is such a massive plus for LFC, his size, strength and pace being unplayable at times on the counter attack, just ask Vidic and Ferdinand at Old Trafford.

LFC had Rush/Aldridge/Dalglish/ Beardsley in the later title winning days and played some of the best football seen in the top division, if not Europe, unfortunately due to Hysel they never had the chance to prove that due to the European ban on British teams.

One thing that no one can deny players are much fitter and better prepared nowadays and these are the sacrifices they have to make for their massive pay cheques. The after match gallon of beer and a night on the town are long gone, the old players’ lounge where family and friends could join you for a celebratory drink and the legendary boot room where opposing staff could meet for a Guinness or whisky are sadly no longer.

I had the pleasure of playing at the great stadium in front of the magnificent fans and will always remember those days with great fondness, and I am proud to say I played for the greatest team in the world, when I return to watch the new Liverpool there’s still that buzz and excitement that only Anfield can produce, and lets hope that never changes!

LFC still have a massive tradition and following all around the world and play in without doubt the best league in the world, so things are still looking bright, lets hope we can finally land that elusive Premier League title next season.

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