Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sammy doesn't want to see the Mistakes of 2002 repeated

SAMMY LEE admits Liverpool cannot afford to ignore the mistakes of 2002 as they prepare for a "massive" summer.

Rafael Benitez’s side bring down the curtain on their season tomorrow when they entertain Tottenham Hotspur.

A point will confirm runners-up place behind Manchester United with the Anfield outfit having already reached 83 points, their record total in the Premier League era.

Benitez is already assessing his transfer options with Carlos Tevez, Glen Johnson, David Silva and Gareth Barry all among those the Spaniard has run the rule over.

The last time Liverpool finished second in the table seven years ago, they responded by spending more than £20million on misfits Bruno Cheyrou, El Hadji Diouf and Salif Diao and subsequently finished outside the Champions League places the following campaign.

And Lee, who was on then manager Gerard Houllier’s coaching staff in 2002, accepts Liverpool are treading a fine line as they aim to make the final transformation into a potentially championship-winning team.

"Each summer is massive," said the assistant manager. "There will be activity going on behind the scenes here to bring new people in. You always need to bring in new players to strengthen and improve.

"We hope it’s just fine margins that need looking at rather than sweeping changes. It’s only tweaking that is needed, which is why this summer is going to be important. There is a fine line between success and not having success.

"The final bit is always the hardest part in anything. But we’re fully aware of the task that faces us. To get that little bit extra will be the hardest work for us."

Lee added: "I was aware of what went on in 2002. That’s why the cliches come in, there’s no way we can afford to take anything for granted. The fact is we’re not 100% happy with the season because we have won nothing. There’s no way we can afford to rest on our laurels.

"If you win things, you don’t dwell on that either. It’s the old Ronnie Moranism, you forget that trophy then move on to the next one. Before we even finished the last game of the season, he told us how many days there were before we came back for pre-season.

"That was the type of mentality we had. We are preparing already for next season and there’s no way anyone here will be resting on our laurels because we have won nothing."

Tottenham are one of only two teams – Middlesbrough the other – to have beaten Liverpool in the Premier League this season.

If Benitez’s side avoid defeat tomorrow, they will become the first team ever to go through a top-flight season season losing as few games without winning the league.

But Lee said: "There certainly has been an improvement but it’s not enough of an improvement as we don’t have any trophies. No-one at the club is 100% happy with the season, as every season we want to win something."

Tomorrow’s game will mark the 464th and final Liverpool appearance of Sami Hyypia, who is set to leave on a free transfer to Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen.

And Lee said: "Sami is a terrific professional, a fine player. Under that cool exterior there is a really emotional guy and he will certainly feel that on Sunday. We will too having worked with him for so long.

"These days you do not get players staying very long at one club, but it is a testimony to him that he has been able to evolve as a player and last 10 years at this club.

"He can play for another couple of years. He has looked after himself and is in great condition.

"He is committed, a good professional. He has all the attributes to make a coach and manager, he can make the tough decisions."

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