Paul Parker

Liverpool still look poor

Paul Parker

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Once again we are hearing talk of Liverpool's season being kick started after winning at Aston Villa on Tuesday night but we have heard all this from Rafael Benitez before and I wouldn't be getting too excited if I was a Liverpool fan.

I watched the match against Villa and they played poorly and needed some luck at the end to get the victory.

They just have not been playing well enough all season to convince me that they are just suddenly going to turn the corner.

They seem to win one big game but then they turn out the very next week and lose. It seems to be a case of win one here, lose one there, and then draw a couple of others, and that inconsistency is why it is looking doubtful as to whether they can qualify for the Champions League.

I remember after they had beaten Manchester United earlier in the season people were saying that that was going to be the match to reignite their season but it hasn't happened.

Liverpool should not even be talking about getting back into the top four. A club of their stature should be winning matches consistently and looking to win trophies not struggling to qualify for the Champions League.

With the exception of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, I think more questions would be have raised about the future of the manager at any other of the top teams if they had endured the type of season that Liverpool have had so far - and I even include Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in that.

If you look at Liverpool's team performances so far this season they have lacked conviction, even when they have won, and that means you have to start questioning what the manager is doing.

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Going back to Arsenal and I feel that they have to spend some money in January if they are to mount a serious title challenge.

A couple of key injuries have highlighted the vulnerability of their squad. It looks like Cesc Fabregas could be out for three weeks and then you also have the key long term injury to Robin van Persie.

With him out, they need to bring somebody in up front who provides them with some strength and force in attack. I also think they need someone in midfield with a bit of presence; while, when Fabregas is out, they need somebody to step in who can make and score goals from midfield.

I'd still back them to beat anybody at home but away from home is where I worry about them and Wednesday night's game against Portsmouth is the classic sort of game where they could slip up.

Pompey may be bottom of the league but they are not a bad side and certainly not in the same bracket as shambolic teams like Watford and Derby who have propped up the table in past seasons.

They have just been lacking in a bit of confidence and have been hampered by their money problems which has prevented them from going out and getting the couple of players they need to move up the table.

However, they are decent at home. They beat Liverpool and were also unlucky to lose against Manchester United 4-1 in Avram Grant's first match in charge - that result flattered United on the day.

It will be a sell-out at Fratton Park and the home fans always create a good atmosphere so it is a real test for Arsenal.

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Gary Megson's sacking as Bolton manager has come as no big surprise to me especially after they allowed a 2-0 lead slip against Hull City on Tuesday night.

The fans showed their discontent towards the manager and then when Megson had a go at them afterwards you knew he was doomed.

You can't slag the fans off to anybody and if you are not popular with the people coming through the turnstiles then you are never going to survive.

The bookmakers have already made Mark Hughes the favourite to take over and, while it makes some sense because it is in the North-West, I cannot see Sparky taking the job.

After moving on from Blackburn to Manchester City, I think he would see going to Bolton as too much of a step backwards.

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