THE press have got their knives out for Dalglish, the players and Liverpool this weekend following our breathtakingly poor performance at home to bottom of the table Wigan Athletic. A number of fans have also followed suit. It’s hard to blame the fans, although the day we start caring what the media think is the day we should pack up and go home. Unless it’s Oliver Holt, in which case we should do the opposite of whatever he’s saying because he’s a complete numbskull.
Things are reaching breaking point at Anfield now. I went to Anfield on Saturday in hope of seeing some attacking football and an opportunity to get the absolutely dreadful QPR result out of our system. There was lovely attacking football on display alright, but it wasn’t from Liverpool. The visitors had a tactical plan, to which they stuck rigidly. They showed for each other and showed real heart and grit.
What is becoming a massive concern to me is that very issue. Where is our heart and grit? I have come to the sad realisation that there are too many of our players, and I mean FAR too many of our players, who are happy to shun responsibility and just be out on the pitch. In this bracket I include Downing, Henderson but it’s not limited to them by any means.
There are players looking at the likes of Suarez and Gerrard and saying to themselves “they will give us a lift in a minute.” But when that lift doesn’t come, there’s no attempts by them to rectify the situation or to make it happen themselves.
In short, a few of our players need to grow a pair and realise that playing for Liverpool means getting out of your comfort zone and trying to do something different. Downing is an example of this, and I actually feel sorry for him. He’s had a steady 2012 but has failed to meet expectations of most fans since his mega bucks move in 2011. He was up against it instantly due to the ongoing links with Juan Mata in the summer, who has evidently taken to the Premier League very well. After a very sluggish start to the season I think Downing has improved and the game against Wigan was the first time he has been outright poor for some time.
Not that he was on his own. But he hasn’t endeared himself to the fans by not taking defenders on enough. He’s plenty quick enough but seems to be too scared to try and do anything special in case it doesn’t come off. Is this a confidence issue? Have the morons who give him stick for the sake of it got to him? Why has he become so conservative? These are all questions that I think are down to mentality.
Henderson is another example – has he adapted to life at a big club? Is he struggling for form and confidence because he’s been played out of position? How does he feel about being regularly played out of position and getting taken off at half time when it inevitably doesn’t work out? These are all very important questions.
We have some warriors and work horses in our team. Gerrard is the ultimate example, but as he gets older cannot be expected to do it week in and week out. Suarez is industrious and although his flicks don’t always come off and can occasionally frustrate, he is a very positive player. For all that Kuyt lacks in technique, his industry and willingness to get involved is something that others should take note of.
There is also a school of thought, not one that I personally subscribe to, that the players are only interested in cup football at the moment. I could even sort of understand that approach if it was the case, but the first 77 minutes at QPR shows we’re still interested in the league. But the “performance” against Wigan does add credence to this theory whether I like it or not.
After initially thinking we weren’t too far away I am becoming increasingly concerned about the mentality of our team. I just don’t think there are enough winners in there. And not just match winners – natural born winners. Either someone needs to get into those players and give them a stripping down and show them exactly what they need to do, or we need to make some drastic changes, yet again, to the playing squad.
I do believe that the mentality is there – but without the application that is useless. And with big money spent and an expectant crowd on their back, this squad of players needs to get to grips with the task at hand and step away from their comfort zone and playing for one of the biggest clubs in Europe.
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