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Dan Walker | 14:52 UK time, Thursday, 21 January 2010

Right, straight down to it. This week there are four things to cover:

1. A little behind-the-scenes action on last week's opening;
2. An idea of what an assistance producer does and how you could be one;
3. The greatest ever sandwich filling;
4. Something Lawro said on the sofa last Saturday.

First up, the opener. You might remember that last Saturday's Focus began with plenty of shots of me strolling around with some London landmarks in the background. We had the Millennium Bridge, the London Eye, Wembley Arena, HMS Belfast, the Houses of Parliament, Shepherd's Bush market and BBC TV Centre.

It might sound a relatively simple project to carry out, but we started filming at 0900 at the London Eye, got told off for touching the table at Wembley Arena at about 1230, before finishing up at TV Centre at 1430. It was a lengthy beast for producer Andy Casey, cameraman Matt, sound warrior Gil and me, although there was a 20-minute break for mince pies and drinks at 1130.

The shoot took the best part of two days to organise due to all the telephone calls and e-mails that needed to be made or sent to various organisations in order for us to gain access to the famous bits of London. Most of the preparation was done by Casey and researcher Stef, who works on Focus each week and has the crucial role of booking guests, chasing stories, badgering press officers and wearing skinny jeans.

Brother Casey will give you a little bit more insight into how it all came together below...

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If you're wondering about Casey's accent, he's from Newton-Le-Willows (near St Helens) via Sheffield. He is one of eight assistant producers (or APs) who work on Focus every week. Each story we cover has an AP working on it and every item in the programme is put together with an AP and an editor.

The AP will normally set the story up, travel with the reporter to the interview, press conference or shoot and will always have an idea of how they want the piece to look in their heads before they get into the edit suite. We have loads of APs who work on Focus, Match Of The Day and Final Score.

There isn't really a set route into the job of AP. Of the APs who work on Focus, some have come from newspapers, some from other parts of TV, some have come at it cold and there are a few who have moved steadily up the ranks. A fair percentage have degrees, although I have my doubts.

If you are passionate about your football, have loads of ideas and don't fancy controlling a camera, then becoming an AP could be the way forward. Like any role in sport, it is fiercely competitive, but if you wake up in the morning thinking about revolutionary ways of cutting a Premier League goals montage, then this could be the job for you!

Right, now to the sandwich of dreams. The other day Mrs Walker brought back some of the really classy soft white bread (I believe bakers refer to it as a 'bloomer'). In the fridge, I had salad cream, cheddar cheese and silver-skin pickled onions (the little white fellas). The cupboard was stocked with a fresh tub of chocolate spread and a packet of salt and vinegar crisps.

I just threw the whole lot between two mighty doorsteps. I know there might be some of you throwing your arms up in disgust but the next five minutes were magical. Before you castigate me for putting a chainsaw through the culinary rule book, try it out. The chocolate spread dampens the harshness of the onions while the salad cream makes you feel you're eating something healthy. The cheese gives you the much needed stodge-factor while the tangy crisps take the sandwich to another level.

Finally, I'd be interested to know how many of you agree with the point that Lawro made on Focus last week about the current Liverpool team. He reckons that the 11 players that started Gerard Houllier's last game in charge - back in 2004 - would beat the current crop (even with a fit Gerrard and Torres) 6 or 7 times out of 10. Here are the two sets of players for your perusal...

15 May 2004 v Newcastle
Dudek, Finnan, Carragher, Hyypia, Riise, Murphy, Hamann, Gerrard, Kewell, Heskey and Owen

16 February 2010 v Stoke
Reina, Carragher, Kyrgiakos, Skrtel, Insua, Degen, Lucas, Masherano, Aurelia, Kuyt and Ngog

Phillip Degen, Liverpool; Danny Higginbotham, Stoke CityDanny Higginbotham, Stoke City, tackles Phillip Degen, Liverpool

The whole point of the discussion was to see whether Liverpool are any better - or any closer to winning the title - after five-and-a-half seasons under Benitez.

We had a good discussion about it before the programme, but I'm still not sure. Happy to hear what you think and let me know if any one is brave enough to try the sandwich of champions.

You can follow me on twitter at


  • Comment number 1.

    I believe the two Liverpool teams would draw 10 times out of 10!!!

  • Comment number 2.

    Dan - love reading your blogs mate, but the sandwich just sounds bonkers!

    Also, this could be one of the very few occasions on which I'd say I agree with Lawro!!

  • Comment number 3.

    Let's be fair, neither of those teams look like they could win the League, they didn't even win the Champions League, that was all Stevie G. Without him they would have been about as ordinary as Spurs or Villa have the past ten years.

  • Comment number 4.

    thats hardly fair. uve just taken out the 2 best players. take out gerrard n owen from houlliers team and replace with perhaps smicer n barmby (cant remember the exact squad from back then) n its a bit more even.

    mascherano will be as gd as hamann is when hes the same age, agger, not skrtl, could potentially be the next hyppia (class defender, intelligent, gets forward n scores), reina is miles ahead of dudek. degen isnt our right back, johnson is. i could go on but i cba to scroll up and point out more flaws

  • Comment number 5.

    Houllier’s team looks like his strongest eleven whereas Rafa’s is missing Torres, Gerrard, Johnson, Benayoun, Agger and Riera.

    Houllier’s side does look the strongest overall, though the difference is Kewell/Aurelio, Gerrard/Degen and Owen/Ngog. I’d take Lucas and Mascherano over Murphy and Didi, and I’d probably take Kuyt over Heskey.

    Taking into consideration how each manager would work with the teams available to them, I reckon it would be pretty much even. A couple of wins each and the rest would be draws.

  • Comment number 6.

    > Houllier’s side does look the strongest overall, though the difference is Kewell/Aurelio, Gerrard/Degen and Owen/Ngog

    You forgot Kyrgiakos / Hyppia. At Champions League level that's a big factor, especially assuming that the opponent gets a corner now and then.

  • Comment number 7.

    Incidentally, the sandwich sounds truly revolting. Even without the cheese in it I couldn't stomach that.

    The finest sandwich known to man is white bread (bloomer is good, or a sandwich baguette,) butter, a bit of mayo, good quality ham (ideally off the bone,) slices of hard-boiled egg, lots of freshly-ground black pepper. Suddenly I feel a bit peckish.

  • Comment number 8.

    Dan you are obviously a man after my own heart with trying the combos of dreams on sandwiches... try this doosy... thick bread, mayo, peanut butter and chicken with any crisp you feel may compliment this titan of the sandwich world..

    I think Houllier's team would edge it.. and that is only looking at the name Kyrgiakos in Rafa's team.. that, for me, was the most bizarre transfer of the summer.. the guy is hopeless.. 4 full backs in Rafa's team with 2 holding midfielders says it all really.

  • Comment number 9.

    Mikey (#8) I think you're being a bit harsh on Kyrgiakos. I love the guy's attitude and his enthusiasm. The way he wholeheartedly launches himself at clearing headers is great to see and he is a cult hero in the making. We needed a replacement for Sami and had to find someone good enough to fill a hole when needed and not so good as to be unwilling to accept that his primary position is on the bench.

  • Comment number 10.

    I think that in 2004, Liverpool would probably be in a better position to win the Title, than they are in 2010. So, I would agree with Lawro. They could proabably beat them 6 times out of 10

    One other thing. Your sandwich suggestion sounds disgusting, yet one of those things that you never really know about until you try.

  • Comment number 11.

    Evening everybody. I don't know about you but I am having Carling Cup withdrawal symptoms.

    GINOLLLLA (#2) Glad you are enjoying the blogs brother.

    Good point from john (#3) about Gerrard and rob_LFC_fairbairn (#4) about taking Gerrard and Owen out of the first team. I think Lawro was trying to get at the fact that Liverpool have not progressed as much as you would have expected them to in the last 5 seasons.

    cheeseisthedevilswork (#7) I know you have cheese issues but you need to harness the power of the sandwich before you turn your back on it.

    Mikey (#8) You have a little winner there... 'thick bread, mayo, peanut butter and chicken with any crisp you feel may compliment this titan of the sandwich world.' I have got that one booked in for tomorrow night as a pre-show meal.

    Keep them coming citizens. See you soon.

    Jason Lee

  • Comment number 12.

    "...if you wake up in the morning thinking about revolutionary ways of cutting a Premier League goals montage..."

    How about making it worth watching. There's more to goals than the final touch, cut up, slowed down, f-f-freeze framed, migraine inducing, Edward Scissorhands rubbish that the BBC thinks people are interested in seeing. We wish to see the action, not what new toys the editing room boys have to play with. Imagine a show of FOOTBALL matches - no pundits, no gimmicks, no mindless stats. Ah, sorry, I forgot: that's how Sky do it (the bad way)so the Beeb has to follow suit. Common denominatoring to the lowest Panda!

  • Comment number 13.

    Crisps enhance any sandwich - Fact. I recommend Pringles.

    I'm sorry but you can't beat fish finger sandwiches; bit of buttered bread, two fingers and a squirt of ketchup et voila!

    I think the message to be taken from the Lawro argument isn't that this player's a bit better or that player's got more experience. It's the point that with nearly six years and millions of pounds in transfers and wages, Rafa hasn't really improved his squad as he should have.

  • Comment number 14.

    12. you clearly need a sandwich or two boyo. the fact that the been always put out VTs that show thought and care, unlike itv (same music every time) makes me appreciate them even more.

    Lord Walker. what an invention!! my pickle jar is emptying at an even faster rate than the usual save-them-from-drowning patrols that I undertake :) your post has also reminded me that even though I reaching the end of university, I have yet to try a chip butty. I hear they are a bit marmite for some but who am I to judge?

    on that note, please tell me you are a marmite man?

  • Comment number 15.

    I think Liverpool are as close to winning the premiership as I am to trying your revolting sandwich !! White Bloomer,Cheese,Crispy Lettuce,Salad Cream,Good quality Ham off the bone,and a side dish of Plain Crisps, with a very cold Banana Milkshake to wash it down with, in front of the football, that IS heaven !!

  • Comment number 16.

    Your defense a mighty doorstep, a midfield as pure, smooth and connective as the best Irish butter, the front line a slab of top quality farm shop meat, these are the fundamental particles of football and food. I'm sure your fancy onions and exotic combinations thrill for a while but its not long before one of those silver-skins squirt Ronaldo-like across the kitchen floor. More bread and meat football please.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'm pretty sure Dan's sandwich could start in the current Liverpool team alongside Mascherano and still do a better job than Lucas.

  • Comment number 18.

    12. At 9:27pm on 21 Jan 2010, rastafairy5 wrote:

    Common denominatoring to the lowest Panda!


  • Comment number 19.

    #9 Im sorry I would write your name but I like cheese too much to do so.. its a little blasphemic for my liking.. I used to watch Kyrgiakos when he was up at Rangers and he is murder.. yes he tries but he often fails and his antics when he is penalised for his countless fouls soon become grating..

  • Comment number 20.

    Another good blog Dan - and I believe Football Focus has improved since you took over. Any plans to come to Scotland (particularly Celtic) to do a piece?

  • Comment number 21.


    rastafairy5 (#12) the great VT debate. Do people want to see the goals or a jazzed up version with a bit of music? It's a debate that will rage on and on. Personally - I like to see the goals at the time but don't a little jazz after the event to remind me of what happened. I like a bit of art in there. I agree with LABSAB9 (#18) though that you were making a very reasoned argument until you mentioned the panda!

    Feed The Goat (#13) excellent insight on both sandwiches and football. Have you tried fish fingers with a little chilli mayonnaise? Winner.

    foonyroo (#14) I am a 100% marmite man especially when offset with a bit of honey.

    RedJersey7 (#15) Another excellent sandwich. Enjoying the 'off the bone' moment and the extra kick from the banana milkshake.

    ezlawblog (#16) I can see you are a real man who ignores condiments and goes straight for the steak. Is there anything better at a barbecue then simply meat and bread? Vegetarians turn away now.

    supersuperkev10 (#17) It's a great sandwich, but not that good.

    GuayaquilBhoy (#20) we have a piece in the planning stages comrade. I assure you it won't be long before we get to it.

    Excellent work. I am on Gabby Logan's sports panel at 1:30 today at 5 Live and then will film Friday Focus with Mr Keown who is off to see Sol Campbell later for tomorrow's programme.

    See you soon.

    Gary Stevens

  • Comment number 22.

    Cheese and golden syrup..........what a sandwich!

  • Comment number 23.

    As per usual, its very easy for ex-players to call these things a crisis and throw in their opinions, very few of which are objective or balanced.

    Considering the crisis liverpool are supposed to me in, with endless ex-players rounding on the manager, knowone seems to consider some of the following:

    In the first game of the season Bassong shouldnt of been allowed to play for spurs as he was sent off for newcastle at the end of last season, he didnt serve the final game of this ban.
    The goals scored by West Ham and Sunderland which werent even within the laws of the game.
    Numerous blatent penalty shouts turned down.
    Poor form from afew usually reliable players (carragher earlier in the season for example, gerrard all season).
    A long injury list, most noteably to the defence early on in the season.

    Injuries aside I dont see benitez hiding behind any of the above, yet people without the bottle or skills to take the job feel theyre within their rights to criticise.

    Liverpool are in a much better position than in 2004. Last season was the best for at least 20 years and in years gone by the total would have been enough to win the league.
    Granted performances havent been great this season, but this is nothing more than a storm in a tea cup, Benitez deserves more respect for his achievements, Harry Redknapp is lauded and for what? One FA cup, he not even in the same bracket as Benitez.

  • Comment number 24.

    For a fantastic weekend lunch sandwich just toast one side of two slices of bread (i.e. use a grill), a layer of butter on the untoasted sides (so the toasted sides are on the outside) and a bit of ketchup then four fishfingers and a fried egg on top. Maybe sprinkle a small amount of grated chedder if you like.

    Yummy yummy for my tummy.

  • Comment number 25.

    Great blog as usual Dan!

  • Comment number 26.

    I read the other day Benetez thinks he has improved Liverpool since he took over. Maybe this is the problem. He hasn't a notion. Very comic though.

  • Comment number 27.

    It's very rare that I agree with Lawro, but I have to say that I do about the two Liverpool teams.

    Liverpool are going through a bad time at the moment and I think they will come through and start performing how they should be soon. The win against Spurs was massive, and it'll be a massive confidence boost for them. They'll be a tough team to beat again very shortly.

  • Comment number 28.

    Dan - I think Lawro is pulling a fast one there; bet I can reduce any team in the Premier League by six first team regulars and make a case for them being beaten by a full strength team under a previous manager.

    I could probably make a good case for the team of 1999/00 beating the current one being fielded by Manchester United - now that's something which Lawro should really sink his teeth into ;)

    Anyways, throw in Torres and Gerrard into that Liverpool team and it's certainly not going to get beaten that much. Only player I'd really want to take from Houllier's team is big Sami. And I'd put him right next to Jocky in my all-time Liverpool XI too :D

  • Comment number 29.

    @23 PepeXabiBarnes

    I agree with everything you say...but you're not Paul Tomkins in disguise are you?

    By the way, you are all sick. Some disgusting sandwiches being touted here. Give me a Cheese and Ham salad on a brown baguette with branston any day...

  • Comment number 30.

    Please not another Arsenal piece with that old has been Sol Campbell.

    Sounds like those 8 AP's haven't got much imagination between them. Focus is just an Arsenal appreciation society.

  • Comment number 31.

    Hi Danny boy,

    What's on focus this week? Can we to presume Liverpool will take a back burner and will we look to the bottom of the table for a pseudo cockney knee-ups following the new owners at West Ham and perhaps a mention on Pompeys latest crisis?

    Incidentally off topic but where do people stand on Sol Campbell suing Portsmouth. Bit callous no?

    The sandwich sounds rather random but then I like Mayo on toast (apperantly thats weird). Bah. It is in fact a delight.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    Sorry folks.... all your sandwiches are a bit girly

    white bread, bacon, drop of sauce (HP or ketchup... down to personal choice)... perfect sandwich for any bloke

    All this talk of salad, salad cream etc.... i fear for the future

  • Comment number 34.

    31. At 10:29am on 22 Jan 2010, realronburgundy wrote:

    Incidentally off topic but where do people stand on Sol Campbell suing Portsmouth. Bit callous no?

    What would you do if you were owed 1.7million mate?

  • Comment number 35.

    to all those cries of stevie and torres, may i point out that liverpool have still been pathetic with those two in the team. i'm guessing houllier's team would just about edge it-5 wins and 2 draws.

  • Comment number 36.

    I know I am going to get slated for this but for me the best sandwich in the world is cheese and a jammie Wagon Wheel sandwich.On paper, it sounds horrible but it is the ultimate comfort food

  • Comment number 37.

    Hello again...

    Let's have a look at all this then. First up, sandwiches.

    MarkP (#22) goes out piste with cheese and golden syrup
    rushers82 (#24) brings toast into the equation (never been a fan myself)
    Andrew Jones (#29) offers us simplicity (branston is always a sound choice)
    and Shugs (#33) isn't happy with anyone but opts for the old white bread/bacon/sauce classic.

    PepeXabiBarnes (#23) I do agree with you that Benitez does get hit with a stick a little too often. The situation is never as bad as people make out and you're right - it has been an unusually bad season with too many top players at Anfield underperforming or getting injured. Benitez does seem to get more harshly judged than others but I do think that he doesn't help himself by being a bit stubborn sometimes and making some very odd substitutions. Having said that I think he is a very good manager.

    Zebedee77 (#28) I think Lawro was saying that even if you put Gerrard and Torres in the team - Houllier's side would win. I know what you mean and the Manchester United point is a good one.

    bluenose (#30) We do 1 programme from Arsenal and all of a sudden we are an Arsenal appreciation society. I'll let you deal with the letters and emails from Gunners who claim they are not on the programme often enough. Sol Campbell is only speaking to us this week and with what's happened this week it should be a good watch for all football fans.

    And finally realronburgundy (#31) on the programme this week... Have a look at the next post. I'll copy in the thing from the football focus website.

  • Comment number 38.

    On Focus from 12:15 on BBC 1...

    Martin Keown is having a chat with Sol Campbell, the new (old) boy at Arsenal, on life, football and that legal stuff at Portsmouth.

    Fergie (the younger) is the new man at Preston and he'll be chatting to us about facing Chelsea in the Cup; and we'll have a word with Nigel Adkins as Scunny prepare to take on the money of Manchester City.

    The FA Cup has also seen League two Accrington - who came within a few weeks of going out of business - drawn against Fulham, so we'll be walking round the Lancashire town with their boss John Coleman.

    The fun will come in the form of the man with the world record for the longest throw and, after taking one in the face while commentating for BBC Radio 5 Live, we've asked Robbie Savage's team-mates to see if they can repeat the feat at training.

    We'll even try our best to shoe-horn in 13 goals from two cracking Carling Cup semi-finals.

    All that plus former Arsenal, West Ham, Celtic and Wales striker John Hartson will be on the sofa to chat about the day's big stories and his ongoing fight with cancer.

    Sounds like a cracker.

  • Comment number 39.

    Konnichiwa Dan,

    Great blog!
    Always catch up with the BBC blogs as I am currently living in Japan.
    Speaking of chili mayo, which I completely agree with, may I recommend something which I have found here in the land of the rising sun...wasabi-mayo!!
    Awesome...don't knock it till you try it!!

  • Comment number 40.

    @ 13: i've often wondered about" fish fingers". add to that "chicken breasts" and "buffalo wings", and i think biology teachers have plenty to answer for. it's not enough to murder these creatures; we have to remix their anatomy while we're at it!

  • Comment number 41.

    That is a ridiculous statement from a constantly depressed pundit.

    Reina, Aurelio, Carragher, Agger, Johnson, Kuyt, Mascherano, Aquilani, Riera, Gerrard, Torres with Benitez at the helm would more often than not beat Houlliers 11.

    In addition to this you now have a bench when everyone is fit, consisting of the likes of Benayoun, Skrtel, Insua, Rodriguez, Lucas, Babel, Ngog. Im not saying they are all world beaters but Lawro as usual makes sweeping statements without thinking. He's also overhauled the youth system and the internal club structure and a lot of those changes will not bear fruit in the short term. It's easy to criticise when things are going badly. Ferguson took a number of years before winning the League; this league is a lot harder than it has been for a number of years.

    Wenger has been criticised for a number of years on various issues also but patience will bear fruit. They are now top of the league and still arguably play the best football in the league. Again I’m not saying they are going to win the Premiership but no one can argue that he is a success at Arsenal. Is this is a bad season for Liverpool….YES ,has Benitez made mistakes…YES. Who hasn’t? Everyone needs to deal with the issues and improve and Benitez will achieve this in time. No one has a right to win everything and there are a number of very good teams in the league who will challenge for top spot for many coming seasons. The media can try to continue to get rid of Benitez but the fans will support him all the way. Lawro think for a second before you speak. End of rant.

  • Comment number 42.

    Dan, i think you should consider changing your surname to Cropley , with that choice of fillings you are clearly the long lost child of Mrs Cropley from the Vicar of Dibley - her gastronomic genius extended to such wonderful pairings as Anchovies and Peanut butter etc etc-youve clearly got the genes

    and as im someone who suffers ( that is the correct description) from an allergy to wheat and therefore has to avoid bread - that last nights Kipper mashed onto Rice cakes with a dash of lemon and black pepper was out of this world

  • Comment number 43.

    Another favourite of mine: Chicken Super Noodles Sandwich.

  • Comment number 44.

    A ridiculous comparison between the two Liverpool teams. One with all the best players in the squad at the time, playing, the other ravaged by injury.
    Reina,Johnson, Aurelio, Agger, Carragher,Maxi,Mascherano,Aquilani, Riera, Gerrard,Torres. Would beat Houllier team 9 times out of 10.
    Its such poor journalism to print that nonsense.
    Do it with Man Uniteds teams, the one that lost to Leeds and the one that won the CL final, please.

  • Comment number 45.

    17. At 05:16am on 22 Jan 2010, supersuperkev10 wrote:

    I'm pretty sure Dan's sandwich could start in the current Liverpool team alongside Mascherano and still do a better job than Lucas.


    Dan, that sandwich is the second worst food/drink combo I have ever heard of. The first being a milkshake on offer in a Shake shop in Bristol....... Marmite Shake!!! Surely even the most die hard Marmite fans wouldn't dare.... would they??

    The 2004 team wins 7 out of 10 for me, but not if 2010 team has Torres, Gerrard and Riera (although mainly Torres and Gerrard)

  • Comment number 46.

    Yeh youre dead right Dan, rafa does say some nuts stuff and some of his subs do baffle a lot of people, I just think there is an unfair stigma around rafa thats difficult to shake.

    Similar to players like Lucas or Ngog who always get slated in spite of what they actually do, or on the flip side, plyers/managers championed inspite on ineptitude.

    #29. haha, no im not, he does talk a lot of sense though, well, aside from liking Ryan Babel...haha

    Off topic, Id love to see football focas do something in depth about the financial situation in the premier league, maybe get Alan Hansen to do one of his specials. Seems to be a massive issue right now...

  • Comment number 47.

    Dan, I take it they didn't invite you on 'Sport Relief Does Masterchef' after reading what you eat. Only a pregnant woman would be justified in eating that sandwich! God knows what you would have in your bag if you went on Ready Steady Cook.

    I reckon Liverpool will finish in the top 4. Does it matter that Houllier worked under different people when he was at Liverpool? and the club was more stable? I'm not a Liverpool fan, so I don't know.

  • Comment number 48.

    To be honest i wouldn't care if liverpool got relegated

  • Comment number 49.

    Dan. Re - the Lawro comparison between the Houllier and Benitez teams.

    As others have pointed out the Benitez team is missing about 5 or 6 first team players whereas the Houliier looks full strength. To me this is symptomatic of the laziness/ dumbing down/ tabloidism the seems to permeate sports coverage by both pundits and journalists from the majority of outlets. Sky are probably the worst for this, but the BBC seems to be getting progressively worse in this respect too.

    There doesn't appear to be any kind of insightful, interesting, or even accurate sports journalism any more. Sports coverage these days seems to be an excercise in reductio ad absurdum with everything distilled into single serving soundbites - anything for an easily digestible headline or simple pantomime story, no matter whether it is factual or adds anything of value to the debate.

    Ah well.. sign of the times I guess.

  • Comment number 50.

    Good blog Dan, as always.

    Just one thing... Cheese, pickles and crisps in a bloomer, sounds great.

    Adding of the chocolate spread - Wrong, on all levels.

    With regards to the comments from Lawro, yes, I agree with him. Houllier's side of 2004 would beat the Rafa Benitez team of 2009/2010.

    At present, Liverpool are carrying far too many passengers that are simply not up to the mark for a club of Liverpool's stature, in my opinion. They have too many players that are 1) out of touch with what it means to play for a club like Liverpool and 2) are just not good enough.

    Liverpool realistically have 4 players that are good enough for most teams in any league in the world. They are Gerrard, Torres, Reina and, I believe, Mascherano.

    The rest aren't good enough or have ran out of steam i.e. Carragher.

  • Comment number 51.

    Afternoon football warriors.

    Some excellent rants here about the state of journalism in this country. Let me say in response to Sbs3em (#41), torontored (#44) and jackal_lfc (#49) that Lawro did add that Benitez's team should include Torres and Gerrard.

    It's not terrible journalism at all. He was raising a serious question about how far the club had moved on in 5 seasons. Fair enough - the team against Stoke was a weaker one - that's why he made the point about putting Torres and Gerrard in there as well. The point of journalism is to promote debate and that is exactly what Lawro has done. Just because you disagree with him doesn't make it rubbish and he is as qualified as most to talk about Liverpool.

    I understand what you are trying to say about reporting jackal_lfc but we are really trying to get the right mix on Focus. Interesting and original journalism mixed with a bit of fun. This week we've got Campbell and a special report on Burton followed by the guy with the longest throw-in in football. We don't get it right all the time and, if we are wide of the mark, we are happy to take the grief.

    Back to the sandwich subject...

    Excellent suggestion for wasabi-mayo from Wanfmeister (#39)
    Cocokin (#42) Sorry to hear about your wheat issues. I was with you on the kippers right up until the bit about rice-cakes.
    rushers82 (#43) has hit back with another beauty Chicken Super Noodles Sandwich!
    Marmite shake is just wrong, wrong, wrong LouiseRedknappIWouldDoIT (#44).

    If I ever went on Ready Steady Cook Willchimp (#47) I'd take something ridiculous on like a pumpkin and a can of corned beef.

    And before I go and voice something for tomorrow...

    PepeXabiBarnes (#46) we have got something of a financial special next week on the state of finances. Still to be confirmed but hopefully it will be the sort of thing you are thinking about.

  • Comment number 52.

    (First ever comment, but talking of world beating sandwiches I just couldn´t resist)

    Start with a toasted bagel (preferably with medium size hole). Add (in this exact order) butter, marmite, slice of cheese (edam preferable, others acceptable), tuna/sweetcorn spread (Marks & Spencer if you really want to go for it) and top it all off with onion crispies (for those of you not yet enlightened to the glory of the crispy -

    I think it is impossible to say which team would win of the two Liverpool´s, old or new. Either way it doesn´t show whether they have gone forwards or backwards over the years as the entire league has changed. COYS!

  • Comment number 53.

    Hi Dan, fin e effort once again.

    I'll break it down as you did;

    1. Funnily enough, while watching the open sequences I mentioned that the opening shot must have taken a while to shoot.
    She replied that she really wouldn't know as she has no interest in football.(?) *Cue her being sent out to the shops*

    2. Nice insite to another aspect of the making of a show. Keep them coming please.

    3. Dear O dear. That sandwich sounds like an accicent waiting to happen, a cholestrial time bomb. Chocalate and cheese in the same sandwich? Sounds like something the Lost Boys from Peter Pan would snack on, but to each his own I suppose.
    but I do think crisps are a must with a sandwich, I've been doing that for years over here and have had to endure many a strange look over that time. (like I care)

    4. Comparing teams from different era's may be a bit of fun for in a pub or on a blog, but in reality it is a futile exercise. The players have changed, heck, even the game has changed (speed of the game and fitness levels)The L'pool team that Lawro and Hansen played for that were highly succesful would probably take a good beating from the present lot if you factor in how the game has evolved.

    Although I am no fan, I do feel that the whole L'pool story has gone a little too far lately and i't's a bit sad to see all the former players come out and have a go at the team. When a guy like Souness starts complaining about the state of the club then you know your in trouble.
    But seriously, last week it was the end of the world etc, etc, then after one win over Spurs they are sudenly only one point off 4th place. Shame about the CL and the FA cup, but is this what really constitutes a "crisis"?
    Or are we really that fickle?

  • Comment number 54.

    @Dan (51). Thanks for the response. I appreciate what you say about balance, and I imagine that you probably have a target demographic to cater for (most of whom are probably happy with the majority of your output), I just personally find it weighted too far to the tabloid end of the market for my own tastes.

    I find it a bit of a shame though, because I feel there is an opportunity and a market for a football show that provides real in depth, intelligent debate about the issues affecting football today (whether they be fiancial, tactical, or whatever) in a way that you can't really do in 5-10 minute segments. I suppose budgetary and time constraints have a say here, but would love the BBC to produce a show like that (as I can't really see anyone else doing it).

  • Comment number 55.

    Rafa's "First" eleven would provide a tougher test, but I have to agree with Lawro on the teams above. No contest !

  • Comment number 56.

    Take your point Dan but I don't think you've read my comment properly.

    I wasn't stating Lawrenson was talking rubbish simply because I disagreed with him that would be petty and stupid. I am trying to say that you have to have thorough reasoning before making such statements.

    In his position he should have some substance to support his point. Obviously everyone has the freedom to make wide sweeping statements and he is free to do so. However the thought ‘it’s better to be thought of fool than to open your mouth and prove it’ comes to my mind when I think of Lawrenson and he seems to prove it quite often.

    Its terrible journalism when someone can say something with having no need to back it up just to have a debate. It reminds me of a radio station which regularly does the same thing. Unless you have an agenda to push which more than not the media does.

    Alex Ferguson is a rubbish manager, they lost to Leeds!

  • Comment number 57.

    Hello again,

    Robseypops (#52) that's not a sandwich that's a full blown recipe! What an epic.

    Holloway2Holland (#53) don't turn your back on chocolate and cheese. It's a presidential combination.

    jackal_lfc (#54) you're right. It's the age old problem. If you aim too wide you alienate the serious sports fan, if you aim to narrow you lose out on a mass audience. We really are trying to beef up our journalism on Focus but I think there is definitely a place for the sort of programme you are talking about where you can have plenty of time to discuss issues. Radio 5 Live do it very well.

    sbs3em (#56) thanks for the response. The 'rubbish' comment was a broad sweep of my blogging brush. I do understand there where you are coming from and you are right about the danger of sweeping statements without a factual base.

    Nigel Jemson

  • Comment number 58.

    Taking issue with #56. Firstly, I read your first comment as well, just to make sure I interpreted you as correctly as possible. Lawro is not 'constantly depressed', he simply possesses a very dry sense of humour, which is the reason most people love him. The man is also an ex-professional footballer who has played at the very highest standard at club and international level. I would say that this in fact gives his opinion more weight than yours and mine.

    This is not to suggest fans opinions are not valid, of course, I am simply suggesting an Orwellian 'some are more equal than others' state of affairs.

    Dan, on the sandwich front, at the pub I used to work in the chef used to do staff these roast dinner sandwiches. Beef, roast potatoes, sausage and bacon, mustard and gravy. Truly, they were the cat's pyjamas.

  • Comment number 59.

    anightatthechopra, now THAT'S a sandwich worth hyping.

    I used to do someting similar with the leftovers of xmas dinner with a few pickled onions chucked in for good measure.

    Sorry Dan, If chocolate and cheese is "presidential" then I'd have to compare it with Nixon. They take their cheese very seriously over here in Holland, and I could be "impeached" if they found I was mixing it with chocolate.

  • Comment number 60.

    Dan & Bloggers,
    Your sandwich sounds nice, next time treat your self to a deerts after the sandwhich. Try a jellie-bean deser. I keep banging this drum because they brilliant, and you can make all sorts of cocktails.

    The AP rant was not interesting, no offence Dan, but both were incidental to the footy that was eventually discussed.

    Lawro might be right, hey he probably is right, not that any one will ever know, of course, it is just one of those what ifs from the past. One question though, how many of the other teams can place their May 2004 squad on paper against their current squad and say "look clear improvement". I do not think Arsenal can, I do not think Man U can. (In 2008 - 2009) they could have. I think Hull, Burnley and such like could, and I am a little unsure of the actual effect of Abrahmovic's millions on Chelsea in May 2004.

  • Comment number 61.

    Interesting. Seeing as Liverpool's points tally last season would have won the league in most seasons I think we can say Rafa's team was an improvement.

    The strongest Liverpool XI at present would be (in my opinion):

    Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio, Rodriguez, Aquilani, Mascherano, Gerrard, Torres.

    Much stronger than the equivalent 5 years ago... and, due to the injuries to Aquilani, Mascherano, Gerrard, Torres and Agger one that hasn't played together at all!


  • Comment number 62.

    Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Insua, Mascherano, Aquilani, Gerrard, Riera, Lucas, Torres.

    You can interchange Lucas for Aquilani and bring in Benayoun, Babel or Aurelio in their respective positions and the team is still much stronger. The individual quality of the players now far outweighs that we had then.

    I really can't see the comparison as anything but part of the BBC and media's agenda against Liverpool. Why on earth pick a full strength side then against a (less than) half strength side now?

    It's really frustrating how many people have come out the last couple of weeks and tried to stick the knife in to the club and to Rafa in particular, especially ex-players who should know better, in that their comments are only furthering an apparent attempt by the press to destabilise the club. The multitude of people who have been trotting out the same garbage as one another, all of which is blinkered and completely ignores Rafa's achievements over the last five years and focusses on the difficulties of the last 5 months - it's absurd.

    Personally, I'd rather we finished 10th under Rafa and he saw the season out (and was given a bash at next season, too) than that we allowed the press and armchair post-Istanbul fans to dictate who's in charge at our club, purely on principle.

  • Comment number 63.

    Just watched the Comic Relief clip on Question of Sport and it had me thinking, are anybody on FF going to do anything for Sport Relief this year and if yes, what is it they are going to do?

  • Comment number 64.

    Hi Dan,

    Being a Southampton fan, I couldn't care less about Liverpool.

    However, i would like to see decent goals in full on focus. The Villa break at Blackburn was brlliant last week and although I'd seen it live my dad hadn't seen it. I saw it was about to be on focus and called him to watch only for you to cut it totally so it looked like a tap in! I've missed both this weeks League Cup games, so please show all the goals in full tomorrow!!!

  • Comment number 65.

    anightatthechopra (#58) what a sandwich that is?

    city2promotion (#63) On the Sport Relief thing... Lawro is doing Celebrity Masterchef with Lineker and Hansen. He's never cooked a meal in his life and apparently had a shocker"

    SaintStatto (#64) I think I'll go on a Liverpool free zone for a while. I know what you mean about the goals but there is a reason for us doing what we do with them. If they are premier league midweek goals we will show them in full because people haven't seen them but the Carling Cup goals are a bit different. Both games were live on the BBC this week and a 5 minute edit of the goals is still available on the website.

    If you weren't happy with what you saw on Focus you could always go there. I hope that helps and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

    See you soon.

    Nigel Winterburn

  • Comment number 66.

    anightatthechopra - Point taken. However you'd be surprised how many ex internationals don’t speak a lot of sense when it comes to football.

    Interestingly not all managers are ex professionals who played at the highest standards. It's interesting that some of the greatest managers didn't play football to a very high standard at all. No doubt there opinions on the game were/are very valid.

    Playing football too a high standard doesn’t necessarily equate to great football understanding.

  • Comment number 67.

    Surely the king of sandwiches must be the breakfast-in-your hand that is bacon, egg, sausage, tomato, black pudding and mushroom on a large white breadcake? May I suggest a trip to Scott's Pantry (just down the road from the students union) next time you are up in Sheffield to conquer one of these?

    My Dad always swore by beef dripping in a sandwich as the only true winner. But on reflection, he may have been TOO working class to exist in modern society.

  • Comment number 68.

    One other factor to take into account when comparing sides and sqauds between Houllier and Rafa is the fact the the previous squad Rafa inherited was worth £100m whereas now it is around the £300m mark.


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