With last Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Arsenal marking Liverpool’s worst league start since 1962, I’m sure a number of Reds fans are quite relieved to see the international break.
It may only be our fourth Premier League game of the season, but with just one point from our first three league games, our fixture away to Sunderland next Saturday has a “must win” feel about it… especially since we’re due to play Manchester United the following weekend.
However, despite the club’s poor start to the season and a disappointing transfer window that left us all frustrated, we must not panic! Below are five reasons why.
We Still Have Our Best Players
I thought it was a mistake to loan Andy Carroll out to West Ham even before we failed to sign a replacement for the big man on transfer deadline day. I was also sad to see Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez and Craig Bellamy – three players I think highly of – leave the club. However Kuyt, Rodriguez and Bellamy were squad players and Brendan Rodgers made it clear that Carroll was his third-choice striker.
So while it is always sad to see players who are fan favourites depart, it is far more important that football clubs hold onto their best players and Liverpool did just that this summer. Luis Suarez signed a new long-term contract this summer, Steven Gerrard did the same in January and after speculation linked Daniel Agger with Manchester City, the great Dane made it clear that he wanted to stay at Liverpool.I would be far more concerned about our start to the season if we didn’t still have Gerrard, Suarez and Agger, but with those three at the heart of the team, I’m confident we can turn things around.
Promising Youth Prospects Suggest A Brighter Future
There have been a lot of negatives already this season, but undoubtedly the biggest positive so far has been the performances of Raheem Sterling. Though we should not expect too much of the 17-year-old too soon, it is good to see a talented youngster break into the first-team setup.
Jonjo Shelvey has also started the season well and with Liverpool competing in four different competitions this year, I’m sure a number of other promising young players will get their chance in the starting XI. The playing time youngsters such as Suso, Adam Morgan and Jack Robinson are likely to get will aid their development greatly and so even if our disappointing start to the season continues, at least we can be optimistic about the future.
FSG Have Improved the Club’s Finances
Pointing out that the Fenway Sports Group have improved Liverpool’s finances is a bitter pill to swallow for Reds fans still angry about the club’s failure to sign Clint Dempsey on transfer deadline day. But given the mountain of debt the club was under when John W Henry and Tom Werner bought Liverpool from George Gillett Jr. and Tom Hicks, we should be grateful that our current owners are more conscious of ensuring the club is self-sustaining. As pointed out in John Henry’s open letter to the club’s fans, Liverpool FC is in a healthier position today than it was when FSG bought the club two years ago. Our wage bill has been reduced and our commercial revenue has increased – a combination Henry says “will give us greater spending power in the coming years”.
If we put our faith in FSG and remember that they sanctioned over £100m worth of player transfers in the 2011 January and summer transfer windows, we can be hopeful that we won’t see another transfer window where the squad appears to have been weakened rather than strengthened. If Liverpool FC was still owned by Gillett and Hicks, there is a good chance the club would have gone the way of Rangers or Portsmouth by now. Personally, I’d rather wait a little longer to see Champions League football at Anfield again than see the club come as close to going into administration as it was in October 2010.
The Season Is Far From Over
This one seems a little obvious, but we shouldn’t be panicking about the season when it’s only just begun! One point from three games is far from ideal, but we knew as soon as the fixture list was released that Liverpool would be in for a tough start to the Premier League campaign.
Playing the top three teams in the first five games of the season would be difficult for any team and we should only start to panic if performances and results like the 3-0 defeat to West Brom occur more regularly. In the 2-2 draw against Man City, Liverpool showed their potential, whereas in the defeat to Arsenal we showed how much we have to learn.
There are 35 Premier League games remaining and a lot can change between now and then. Right now, the only way is up; there is no reason to panic just yet.
The Team Needs Our Support
This is perhaps the most important reason why we shouldn’t panic – because the team needs our support. Both Rodgers and FSG have talked about a long-term plan and after the mistakes made by Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli last season, this may well turn out to be a season of transition for Liverpool. There are also the mistakes of previous regimes, which Henry noted in his open letter that FSG “are still in the process of reversing”.
So Rodgers, the team and the owners require a little patience on our part. They all believe we are making progress, but if the fans turn on the club, any progress we have made may come undone. So don’t panic – walk on!